Three days ago, I received an email from Earl Rosero of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish – Kamuning with the following message:
Thank you very much for your involvement in our efforts to promote multimedia technologies for evangelization.
Our small group session last Saturday, August 11, can be likened to the planting of seeds so we can reap future harvests.
We planted good seeds last Saturday. It was a simple, modest beginning. I will do my best to cultivate and propagate to even more parishes here in Metro Manila. I will keep you posted on developments regarding the adoption of OpenOffice and Linux among the parishes I come in contact with.
I am thankful to Eric Pareja for linking me with Earl. The former had referred me to the latter, who had been in search of volunteer resource persons on free and open source software (FOSS). Expecting no material incentive, I readily replied to Eric and said yes, I’m willing to help.
To this day, I wonder why it was very easy for me to respond to the call. It was as though I acted on instinct. It was like buying on impulse a thing that turned out to be valuable in my life. Still, I’m asking myself now: Why I immediately volunteered myself to speak at the seminar, gratis et amore? Is it my affinity to the Roman Catholic community or is it merely my advocacy for FOSS? Let me answer that question using a line in a TV commercial: “Pwede both?”
Perhaps, when I was giving a talk on OpenOffice.org Impress, at the back of my mind was the thought that faith communities are potential markets for the FOSS adoption. In butting in during Paolo Falcone’s talk on Linux, Earl said that faith workers will find it easy to prefer FOSS over the proprietary schemes for ethical or moral reasons. In fact, two of the seven participants approached us and sought help in how to install Linux in their machines. Another raised the possibility of a project with us Paolo regarding migration to Linux of a certain office.
I salute Earl for the courage to introduce changes in his parish. With his professional background in ICT (previously working in Malacanang, ABC-5, among others), he said he’s devoting his time to the parish and advocate changes in the way ICT is used. For example, all the slides to be shown during the masses will be based on OpenOffice.org Impress. He also plans to establish a client-server computer network to make it easy to update files including a database for baptismal records. He also wanted to reach out to other parishes as far as FOSS is concerned. I wish that the tribe of Earl would increase in no time.
The opportunity to help the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish – Kamuning indeed helped me broaden my perspective: That FOSS and faith work can go hand in hand. Church leaders need to be enlightened (of course, with the intervention of evangelists/workers like Earl) and help spread FOSS. It may sound awkward at first glance, but before we know it, the issue of ICT has already permeated the church.