Screenshot of the Mary MacKillop website
CATH NEWS REPORT: The Mary MacKillop website, set up by the Sisters of St Joseph in preparation for her canonisation, has recorded some 190,000 visitors and received prayer requests from 80,000 people in just six months, the website's manager said in a recent presentation.
These figures exclude the canonisation month of October, when the site had six times the monthly average of visitors.
Sr Annette Arnold rsj, who oversees the web presence, said the enormous popularity of the website is evidence that the church has to go out to meet people where they are at – and for most people these days, the internet is that meeting place.
In a presentation delivered at the 25th anniversary of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Brisbane recently, Sr Annette said statistics show that people are also spending a long time on the Mary MacKillop site when they visit, with the website registering millions of "hits".
"I don't think in our day anyone in leadership in the church should look surprised or disinterested or their eyes glaze over, when you tell them of the hundreds of thousands of people coming to visit Mary's website or that two of the new saints. ie Mary MacKillop and Andre Bessette are following each other in cyber space on Twitter," Sr Annette said.
"While it may be foreign to some and they do not like to use the internet, remember Mary's words: there where you are will find your God. Cyberspace IS where people are today and not just young people.
"For better or worse, like it or not, this is where people are, where they are spending a huge amount of time. Are we there sharing and offering the essence and best of the Jesus story? What do we need to do to be there?"
Sr Annette said the model of St Mary MacKillop, who even now is meeting people where they are, in their particular need, created a wonderful challenge for the church into the future