KOTTAYAM: Having a hard time missing the regular Holy Masses from your home church? Not anymore. One can now have access to what should be termed a ‘portable virtual church’ with the help of an android application introduced by the St George Orthodox Church Puthuppally, near Kottayam.
It enables any smartphone user to take part in the Church rituals from any part of the globe. The Church authorities claim that this is the first regular broadcasting service conducted from a Church in the state. All the rituals and programmes being conducted in the church are broadcast on real time through the app.
“We used to have live broadcasting during the festival season from the Church. Then it came to our notice that there was a great demand for these video clips among those who have settled outside Kerala and abroad. The idea of a portable live broadcasting service popped up then.
The facility has also benefited those who cannot access the Church due to their physical conditioning,” Church trustee Leejo Varghese said. The major target audience of the broadcast is the NRIs. The application was developed by the Green Pixel Technology, Kottayam. Along with Holy Masses, other rituals including baptism, wedding and funerals are also broadcast via the app with consent of the participants.
“Earlier, we had launched a web channel to broadcast the services through the Church website. However, it failed to get much hits. It is then we proposed the idea of a mobile app that started functioning from May 4. It has been receiving a huge response,” said M Ranjith, of Green Pixel Technology.
The app can be downloaded for free by searching ‘Puthuppallypally’ in Google Playstore. Besides, streaming video has been made available for free for all users. Streaming links has been made available for web users in the company website and the website of the Church also.
“It was not much of an expensive affair. The only expense was the labour charge to install digital cameras and other equipment manually inside the church and for deploying an operator there. The expenses were borne by sponsors. Another expense was that of taking a server on lease,” Ranjith said.
However, the authorities expressed no concern whether the broadcasting may affect the attendance in the Church but expressed hope of expanding the Church services to a virtual set of faithful as well.
“Last week, we faced a technical glitch while broadcasting. Audio has been missing for a few minutes in the video during the mass. During that time, we started receiving calls from various parts of the world complaining about the problem. This proves that we already have developed an established audience,” the trustee said.