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Parish outreach to young parents? There's an app for that
By Mary Rezac
We Parent More app. Credit: Victor Pap.
We Parent More app. Credit: Victor Pap.

.- Father John Belmonte noticed two things about the millennial generation – they were scarce in the pews, and they were always on their smartphones.

Since many millennials – people ages 18-34 – are now young parents, Father had an idea to bridge the gap by “evangelizing, education, and re-engaging” this demographic through the “We Parent More” app.

“We wanted to make it a technological piece in the new evangelization,” Father Belmonte said.

The app has six different buttons which include information on the Catholic faith, blogs from young Catholic parents, Mass and confession times for parishes across the United States, and games for kids.

Parishes can also subscribe to the app and use it as “an electronic, updated bulletin” to provide parents with information about church happenings at the local level.

“We’re not reading parish bulletins anymore,” Father Belmonte said, “This generation is really living on their smartphones. We need to reach out to them at this really key moment in life.”

Users of the app started locally in the Diocese of Joliet, Ill., where Father Belmonte serves as Superintendent of Catholic schools. Numbers quickly grew to 1,200 users, from parishes across the country, from Anchorage, Alaska to Atlanta, Ga.

So far, the app has received positive reviews.

“Our analysis of the usership shows our users are on the app an average of 18 minutes a day, which is a significant amount of time,” Father Belmonte said, “People see the need for it and understand the need for the application.”

As the word gets out, Father Belmonte hopes more and more parishes and pastors take advantage of the app with the goal of keeping parents connected and most importantly keep them coming to Mass.

“One of the taglines is, ‘Get off your app and go to Mass,’” Father Belmonte said, “We’d really like to see more of this demographic (at church).”

To learn more, visit: www.weparentmore.org.


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April 23, 2014

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