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Parishes connecting through new podcast

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Parishes are sharing their stories and experiences of how they are staying connected during coronavirus restrictions through a new Archdiocesan podcast launched last week.

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The ‘Parishes of Adelaide’ podcast was released on May 6 and is hosted by Arch D Radio producer/announcer James Meston.

Each week a new 40-minute episode is released featuring two different parishes. Members of the parish community are interviewed by James and discuss how they are staying connected with their congregations while Masses are suspended. Each episode also includes a pastoral message, the gospel reading and a reflection for the coming Sunday.

With so many people now having Smart Phones, James said the podcast was the perfect medium for keeping parishes connected, “while we are somewhat disconnected”.

However, for some of the elderly parishioners who may not be able to access podcasts, James is also burning CDs of each episode which they can obtain through their parish.

“What is exciting is it provides an opportunity for us to get together as one Archdiocese, as ordinarily we operate separately in different parishes,” James said.

“We’re talking with parishes finding out what they are doing, how they are staying connected, and also allowing people from other parishes in the Archdiocese and beyond to get a sense that they are not alone and we’re all in this together.”

Besides the ‘on-air’ guests, James has also set up the capability for people from the parishes being featured to pre-record a message to be included in the podcast.

“Anyone who is in a Catholic parish – this is their podcast. It’s all about them, for them, by them,” he said.

“The more we can make it a truly community endeavour, the more successful it will be.”

Speaking a few days after the podcast launched, James said he had received lots of very positive feedback and the initiative had created “much excitement” among listeners.

The first episode featured conversations with Fr Peter Zwaans and Roslyn Dalistan from the Brooklyn Park/Richmond parish and Fr Michael Trainor from the Lockleys parish and served to highlight the reality that staying connected doesn’t always involve technology.

“I knew everyone was doing live stream Masses…but what interested me (in those interviews) was how priests were going back to that notion of visiting parishioners in their homes. Fr Michael said how it reminded him how powerful that was and it took him back to his time as a trainee priest in the seminary when visiting people in their homes was commonplace.

“So people are telling us it’s not just about the new things that priests and parishes can do to engage with their parishioners to jump forward, but also what have we left behind that we can re-embrace and that’s really effective.”

While ‘Parishes of Adelaide’ is helping to connect parishes at a difficult time, James believes podcasts will continue to grow in popularity in the Archdiocese when restrictions are lifted.

“There is an explosion that is happening in this space and we live in a completely audio-on-demand world now. Everyone can press a button on their phones and listen to a podcast and it is a wonderful thing and I look forward to seeing how this develops.”

Parishes of Adelaide is available on all major podcast platforms, including Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

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