By Ann Marie Foley - 20 November, 2014
The Capuchins have issued an open invitation to people to come into their virtual Café Cappuccino to have a chat and pray with them.
The Café is unique in that it is on their new website and they hope it will help them reach out to people.
“The website is our shop window for the province and order and it is a key tool for evangelisation and vocations promotion. It is also used by a lot of people who want to find out where our friaries are, Mass times, confessions, and services,” Br Martin Bennett told CatholicIreland.net.
The Capuchins have every right to lay claim to the Café concept as one of their own friars invented the cappuccino drink. After the Turks left Italy, the friars used strong coffee left behind and added to it local honey and milk to make a nourishing drink for the impoverished local population.
More recently the Capuchin friars manned a café by the same name at World Youth Day in Cologne.
“Fraternity is our guiding charism, and fraternity is communication and dialogue with people, which most often happens around the table with a cuppa. That is the way we minister best and what we are known for,” said Br Bennett.
“We want the website to reflect who we are today, keeping those kinds of traditional charisms that we have, and bringing it into the modern world.
Br Bennett describes Café Cappuccino as a space on the website for audio, video podcasts, where people can sign up for the ezine or newsletter, and pray with the friars for a particular need.
“People can send in prayer requests (via email) and they can join in prayer with us and our fraternities throughout the country. We deliberately picked that name ‘pray with us’,” said Br Bennett.
‘Decaf’ is a meditation, stillness and reflection space on the website with short written, audio and video meditations.
There is also a Franciscan spirituality section which will be filled up over the coming months with seminars, video interviews and existing and newly produced podcasts.
It is too soon for feedback from this new website, but the blog on vocations has been going down well for some time now and has been transferred to the new site.
In a few years it has had well over 150,000 hits.
“We do get inquiries (about vocations from it). If you put this kind of thing up thinking you are going to get vocations directly from it you are going to disappoint yourself very quickly. The idea is to have a positive presence on the internet through social media,” he said.
But he added that those who telephone about vocations say they first found out about the friars online. The blog has been visited several times by a lot of people, indicating that they do some discernment online.
The Franciscan Capuchin friars very much see this new website as a start and they want comment and suggestions and feedback from those who read it to help them fill the gaps and add in what visitors suggest.