Catholic Listeners, which was launched in April 2022, answers queries from telephone callers about the Catholic faith. The service is staffed by a team of volunteer listeners who between them, have taken more than 300 calls since its launch. Many of those calls were initially from people who were struggling to remain connected to their parishes and Faith during lockdown, but the service has now taken on a wider remit.
With the launch of its new website at the Jesuits’ Farm Street Church on October 18th (the Feast of St Luke, Evangelist and writer of the Acts of the Apostles which chronicled the mission of the first followers of Christ to welcome people of all nations into the Church), Catholic Listeners can now respond online to the most common questions about the Catholic faith, with links to pages which explore the Catechism of the Catholic Church, scripture and Church documents. It is also developing an online personal response service to complement its telephone service. The future use of AI as an intermediary tool in giving responses is also being considered.
The launch was overseen by Fr Dominic Robinson SJ, priest at Farm Street Church. Ade Owusu-Ansah, who is the project manager for the Catholic Listeners website, told the audience at the launch event that the website had been designed to be easy to navigate, and that new topics would continue to be added to the site in future, including advice on how to find a spiritual director.
The website was designed by Peter’s House, a Catholic digital design service which created the most recent website for the British Jesuits, and is currently working on other projects for the Society of Jesus. Director, Nazar Alsamarai, told the launch event that online searches about the existence of God jumped during the pandemic to their highest point since Google first became recording such data in 2004. However, searchers had to scroll through 12 pages of results before they found an answer to that question from a Catholic organisation. The new Catholic Listeners website will utilise Search Engine Optimisation to ensure it stays near the top of Google’s search results.
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