"Smart Card" Makes Parish Administration Smoother

Gives Pastor a High-Tech Edge

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BANGALORE, India, MAY 1, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Parishioners of St. Anthony´s Church in Uttarhalli in the outskirts of Bangalore have said farewell to the age-old family record books.

They now have a «Smart Card,» much like the credit card in appearance, on which is stored complete details of the family members, the family tree down two generations, details of subscriptions paid to the parish and even the parish priest´s personal remarks about the family, the SAR news agency reports. Details on the card are accessible only to the parish priest.

The brain behind the card, Father John Anthony, the pastor, said, «It has always been my dream to introduce modern technology in parish administration and so I chanced upon the idea of introducing the Smart Card. It makes parish administration smoother and more efficient. I can get details about any family at the click of the mouse.»

Regard the cost, he says: «At just 300 rupees [about $6.40], a parishioner can possess a Smart Card. This is a very reasonable amount. The parish can sponsor those who cannot afford it or at least allow them to pay the money in installments.»

Father Anthony hopes that every parish in Bangalore Archdiocese will have the Smart Card system.

«We are in the Silicon Valley and so should be the first to adopt such technology in parish administration,» he quips.

Asked if such a system is feasible in large parishes, he says, «Why not? My parish has about 300 families; it took about three months for devising a software, data-collection, data entry and preparation of the Smart Cards. Now that the software already exists, it would take comparatively lesser time.

«Large parishes need not worry. Appoint people to collect the baptism and marriage certificates of every parishioner, and you will have every detail of the parishioners before you just feed them in the computer.»

Narayan Charlu, managing director of Radiant Info Systems Pvt. Ltd. in Bangalore, comments, «This is the brainchild of Father John Anthony who approached us with his proposal. … It is cost-effective and gives the parish priest immediate access to almost any information about his parishioners.»

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