WASHINGTON (August 17, 2001) -- Traveling Catholics are increasingly using the Web address WWW.Masstimes.org and the toll free number 1-800-MASSTIMES (1-800-627-3846) to find out the Mass schedule in parishes all around the nation, the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC) reports.
The Internet option provides an array of services to help traveling Catholics that includes listings of Mass times by city, services in other than the English language, and Masses at tourist locations such as campgrounds, national and state parks, retreat houses, and terminals for air, bus, or train travel.
During the year 2000, almost a half million Catholic travelers used the free services for locating a nearby church and the times of its religious services. This year, inquires made through both the telephone and Internet options are running about 50 percent ahead of last year.
Since June 1999, the free services have been provided by the 1-800 Mass Times Trust in partnership with the CCC. In 1999, combined telephone and Internet inquiries were about 220,000. In 2000, they grew to about 110,000 by phone and 400,000 via the Internet. The forecast for 2001 is 150,000 telephone inquiries and another 600,000 on the Internet, for a total of about 750,000.
"This is one more example of the Church using modern technology to help people address spiritual needs," said Bishop Joseph Galante, Chairman of the Bishops' Committee on Communications, which oversees the CCC. "We delighted that the CCC service is using proceeds from the annual Catholic Communication Campaign for a service which can be used by all. We're also pleased that the founders of 1-800-Mass Times Trust are generously using their immense talents for the entire Catholic community."
The Mass Times database includes more than 22,500 parish and mission churches and other sites for Catholic religious services. Weekend listings include Mass schedules for almost all churches in the United States that offer religious services on weekends. The data is continually updated and is verified at least semiannually with every parish in the country.
The Mass Times service was founded by Robert Hummel based on his own experience as a traveling Catholic. It is supported by the Perpetual Help Foundation which Hummel founded with his wife Phyllis. Legal ownership of the Trust belongs to the Archdiocese of Miami.
Through its Catholic Communication Campaign, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops produces and distributes a variety of media projects including TV documentaries, Christmas and Easter specials, a weekly radio program and public service campaigns about issues or national importance. In addition to the Mass Times service, the CCC also sponsors 1-800-311-4CCC, a toll-free movie review line. For more information, visit the CCC web pages at www.usccb.org/ccc.