Going Dutch: Day's Gospel via Mobile Phone

Initiative of Bishops in the Netherlands

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AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, APRIL 1, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Dutch Catholics can dedicate more time to prayer and works of charity this Lent — with the help of their mobile phones.

«It is one of the examples of our strategy of surprise, and SMS service,» Dutch episcopate spokesman Jan Willem Wits told the SIR agency.

The SMS — «short message service» — has been turned into a «short meditation service,» in keeping with a proposal of the Church in the Netherlands.

«Every day at noon, an excerpt of the Gospel of the day is received,» Willem said.

With this initiative, «we hope to offer the recipients a moment of meditation and reflection on the Gospel,» he added.

The service costs 70 euro cents (76 cents) a day. «Half of this amount is allocated to organizations in charge of aid to the Third World,» Willem said. «In this way, one offers a contribution for a good cause and receives spiritual food in return.»

To this service must be added another of «great success: the possibility of downloading religious tunes in mobile phones,» he said.

A Catholic Tunes Web page offers «classics» such as the Ave Maria and Salve Regina. This service is available only in the Netherlands.

Willem said the two initiatives are part of the 2003 campaign Catholics with Heart and Soul, promoted by the Dutch bishops to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the ecclesiastical hierarchy’s return to the country. The festivities will culminate with a national manifestation on June 7.

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