When parishes can’t celebrate public Masses and we’re called to stay home as much as possible, St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte is getting creative and bringing Jesus to the people!
Someone is planning to drive Fr. Matthew around with Jesus in the Monstrance on a route composed of parishioner’s homes with a live-real-time map for parishioners to know when Jesus might be near.
A few logistics and insights after we did this at my parish the 4th Sunday of Lent:
- Parishioners were asked to send in their address by noon on Saturday for a visit on Sunday morning (following the Live Stream of Sunday Mass). You could use a form or email, you just someone to collect name, address, cell, email, and parishioner # (if you want to ensure they are your parishioners).
- At first, we intended to use google maps, but you can only plug 10 addresses in at a time, and you have to optimize it for yourself. The parish then found this company, Routific, that’s offering its services free for non-profits for 30 days. You can add in the route, set up text notifications, and then dispatch drivers. It takes a little tech savvy, so find someone in the parish who can play around. They have great help services, but only during the week!
- Then using an additional free app called Glympse parishioners will be able to see where they are driving in real-time. We embedded this map on the website, then shared it on social channels.
- We used two phones in the car. The driver had the Route with directions, and the priest had his set to the Glympse so we could all see where they were right now. There were some cell coverage issues for the Glympse, but it ended up working out!
The link to your ‘glympse map’ can be shared on social media, texted to parishioners, or just shared right on a website page. To share it use an HTML widget or go into the source code for a page. Here’s the code to create an iFrame for your site (basically: embed another website into your website).
Have someone on hand who can troubleshoot the website and add new links, if necessary, but it’s possible!