Internet Uniting Church in Latin America

Most Parishes Have E-mail Addresses Now

The Power of Cyberevangelism: The Holy Bible Web Site - on the screen of a public Internet/ telephone box at London Liverpool Street Station, London, UKVATICAN CITY, MAR. 9, 2001 ( The new digital communications technology has probably become the most efficient way to promote communion and communication in the Church in Latin America.

That was one of the conclusions of the last meeting of the Latin American Web Sites (RIIAL), held recently in the Vatican.

In his opening address, Archbishop John P. Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, which oversees RIIAL, reviewed RIIAL's work during the Jubilee Year.

"It is in the area of computerized information where the year 2000 witnessed a veritable explosion of creativity, desire to serve, and flowering of Catholic entities, which have incorporated this means of communication," Archbishop Foley said. "There are increasingly more institutions of the Church that offer their services on the Internet. In this context, RIIAL has also grown at an accelerated pace."

Bishop Enrique Planas, a RIIAL co-founder and its director, spoke about the new members that have joined the network this year. They run the gamut from Vatican dicasteries and religious congregations to Brazil's Child Pastoral Care, candidate for this year's Nobel Peace Prize, which has made the Internet a practical means to care for 1.57 million children under 6 years, and coordinate close to 500,000 volunteers.

RIIAL technicians have developed an integral program of Internet services for parish communities, known as "Ecclesial Office," which will be introduced in the next few weeks. Thanks in part to RIIAL, there are few Latin American parishes that do not have an electronic mail address, a key to entering the network.

"So long as there is a community in need of communication, RIIAL will still be under construction," explained Father Lucio Ruiz, the Argentine coordinator of RIIAL's technicians group.

Improvements have been made to he content circulated on the Latin America bishops' council, CELAM (, has started publication of "Noticelam," an information organ on the life of the Latin American Church.

Documentary banks and digital libraries have been enriched year with the birth of The documentation service of the pontifical magisterium, which ZENIT news agency distributes through RIIAL, reached 56,000 computer terminals.

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