Friars Seemingly Had Divine Inspiration To Use Phones For Higher Purpose

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A religious order in New York is offering what you could call “faith at your fingertips.”

The Franciscan Friars are now accepting prayer requests by text message.

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At the church of St. Francis of Assisi in Midtown, don’t let the old fashioned robes fool you. The Franciscans give in to the temptation of modern technology and text — sometimes at inopportune moments.

“You know how people try to hide it, but they are still texting!” said Father David Convertino.

Father Convertino had an inspiration — seemingly from above — to use text messaging for a higher purpose.

“People ask us to pray for them, and I thought, well, why not have people text us if they want to?” he said.

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And thus was born “Text A Prayer” text the word “PRAYER” to 30644 and reply to the return message with your prayer intention.

“I was just looking at some of the intentions and they are really quite beautiful, very heartfelt intentions — things really to pray for children, pray for people that have terminal illness or cancer. One of the ones that really struck me and caught my eye was elderly people who pray that they could have more contact with their children,” said Brother Paul Lostritto.

The Franciscans collect the intentions and include them in their twice daily prayers. Father Convertino said with the pope now tweeting and the Franciscans accepting prayers by text, the Church is working hard to connect Catholics in a digital age.

The Franciscans said they’re happy to accept prayer requests from people of all faiths. Since the service launched this month, “Text a Prayer” is getting up to 1,000 requests a day.

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