The past number of years has seen us all move to the digital space. Meetings in person have now seamlessly moved online, and we think nothing of gathering with a group of people from all around the country, and often beyond, via one of the many online platforms available. Using similar technology, which has been developed over the past two years, the team at Aspal have built an online platform for faith formation across Ireland.
The app, known as Aspal, is the brainchild of the Ossory Adult Faith Development Group, and has the ability to access content anywhere and at any time, allowing people to deepen their faith from the comfort of their own home.
Over the course of lent, the Aspal team, in collaboration with St Patrick’s Pontifical University and Professor Séamus O’Connell, delivered a weekly online course on praying with the scriptures. Over 200 people followed the weekly sessions. The pre-recorded sessions were supported by a number of live sessions, which allowed for interaction, reinforced learning and wonderful moments of prayer together.
In the coming weeks, the Aspal team, through their collaboration with St Patrick’s Pontifical University, will be offering all parishes and dioceses in Ireland an opportunity to offer faith formation to Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist – enabling those who help animate liturgies to get the best possible preparation in a way that suits them.
The Aspal team, though their deep collaboration with St Patrick’s Pontifical University, have helped equip three cutting-edge technology suites on the campus in Maynooth, offering multiple opportunities for even more exciting digital faith formation projects in the months ahead. All of this was made possible thanks to the collaboration of the talented team and our funding support.
Rev Dr Dermot Ryan, Director of the Ossory Adult Faith Development Group, said: “This is the first step in our journey of something we believe can serve the Irish Church, providing the very best digital faith formation to people in a way that makes learning more accessible – and in so doing makes deepening our knowledge and love of God easier”.
Gemma Mulligan, who followed the Lent Scripture course, observed: “It was wonderful to have access to someone like Prof Séamus right in the comfort of our own home. Even though we were from all corners of Ireland it felt fully like we were together in a room – it was a great way to learn, I will do more of this.”
Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, Denis Nulty, said: “In preparing you for ministry in your parish communities we are but restoring old practices - albeit by using very modern technology - whereby people lead each other in prayer.”
Even in these early stages, Aspal has demonstrated its immense possibilities for engaging with people of faith, in every corner of the country.
You can download Aspal from the App Store and the Google Play Store, or visit Aspal.ie