Sunday, August 7, 2011

Korean Example to the Catholic World

In the world of cyberspace the Seoul diocese  has been an innovative force since 1998, when it began the Yang-op system that united all the parishes in the diocese by facilitating the exchange of information. In 2008 this became the integrated information network that included all the dioceses and parishes in the country. Recently, the diocese has made access to Catholic information available to mobile phones users. And the diocese is now beginning its standard administration with a GIS (geographic information system) to unify all 225 parishes in the diocese in a network that will help make pastoral work more efficient. 

GIS works with hardware and software in order to manage and analyze data, which is then shown on a digital map. One can then quickly interpret the data to reveal patterns, relationships and trends in the form of maps, reports, graphs and charts. In the parishes, it will quickly show the number of Catholics in relation to the total  population, the number going to the sacraments, the number of Catholics in each age group, the number of  tepid in any one area of the diocese, and many more possibilities. It will enable the pastoral workers to customize the work to the needs of different parishes.

In the future it will help make parish lines clear and also help determine the location of future parishes and where they should be divided. The vicar of the diocese said that the system will not  only give us information on a map but help in many other ways. He hopes that it will also allow our Catholics, and all who are interested, to have easy access to the program.

The editorial in the Peace Weekly reports that there is great significance that a diocese, in our information age, is taking advantage of this fact, and is looking forward to the future in its policies and strategies. The capability  of customizing the work will insure that the GIS system will be very much utilized. 

Cardinal Cheong, in his  remarks at the inauguration of the new system, said, "Our diocese can take great pride in beginning this new standard of administrating, for there is no parallel of this being done elsewhere in the Church. The priests will be given a tool to help them do the pastoral work more efficiently, and it will also help the Christians in their faith life."

The Catholic Church benefits greatly because of the quality of internet access in the country. Korea leads the world in  broadband access and in comparison to the States, the monthly cost is much cheaper. Korean technology and  the high quality of internet use have facilitated greatly the interest and desire of the Church to be out in front in cyberspace.

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