The province began the Marist Internet Project in 1996 as a way to reach out in an attempt to renew the church and establish it where it does not exist.
The Internet Project has three main aspects that work together to help build the virtual church:
- working alongside others in an advisory capacity
- developing communications solutions to engage people in gospel-based communication
- managing websites for church and community groups
Whereas in early times the Church had a monopoly on technology, e.g. the printing press, it now shares the technological tools and its story with society and the Information Society presents both challenges and creative opportunities for the Church.
The New Zealand Province of the Society of Mary was an early adopter of Internet-based technologies and in a broad demographic, for example over 98% of the province has an email address.
For a number of years the Internet Project worked alongside Catholic Communications in New Zealand. During this time was instrumental in partnering with Fraynework, the Marist Brothers Melbourne province and Church Resources Australia, to host a conference on the Church and the Information Age at the Mary MacKillop conference centre in Sydney.
As well as continuing its work in New Zealand, the Internet Project has worked as part of an international team assisting in the redevelopment of an Asian Catholic News network, based in Bangkok. Our involvement in this project was in a staff training capacity and as web consultants, responsible for developing the platform and integrating new social media technologies into the community.
Nowadays the Marist Internet Project is involved with small community groups and Church Resources effort bringing timely, topical and concise news about and of interest to the Catholic Church to New Zealand and Oceania.
John Murphy is full time involved in this ministry. He is supported in a part time basis by Michael Homer whose prime responsibility is managing the web-hosting and programming. The project is fortunate to receive graphics support from an international consultant.