Sure, some big-name
sites have struck it rich. But they’re vastly out-numbered by the ambitious
dot-coms who burned cash with such scorching abandon that they ended up
self-incinerating. Even the Christian community has been shaken by some
Could it be that a little Australian
website start-up, operating out of a church basement, is showing the way?
LiturgyHelp.com, which is projecting annual cashflow of A$10 million
(about US$5.5 million) within three years.
LiturgyHelp.com has become the world’s
first company to secure the rights to publish online many of the official
texts of the Catholic Church, for use by church groups.
In its own words:
LiturgyHelp.com is an internet-based
subscription service providing quick and easy access to the official
liturgical resources of the Catholic Church. You can access these resources
from any computer with an internet connection, with no need to install any
software. The material is available to you 24 hours a day, seven days a
A subscription provides you with all the
prayers and readings for any particular day, including all the alternatives
and options, in one easy-to-use, online resource.
The service also includes additional
resources such as homily notes, music suggestions, bulletin masters and
liturgy planning guides.
LiturgyHelp.com is tiny. It was
established in Hobart, capital of the Australian island state of Tasmania,
by a team led by Father Michael Tate. In a former life, Father Tate was an
Australian senator and cabinet minister.
The team has overcome many obstacles,
including opposition from the US Bishops Conference, which did not want to
see the materials online. Support from the Vatican has been crucial to the
Just one problem. The site is growing.
Fast. The Vatican has given permission for the team to put online the
original Latin texts. LiturgyHelp.com is also moving into the publication of
music and of texts from other church organisations.
And…uh, oh…the team is very, very
ambitious. As Father Tate
told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:
Well, I often say we
are going to be the Yahoo, certainly, of the Catholic publishing world,
perhaps of the religious houses of any denomination or even the great world
This is the beginning
of something quite extraordinary.
Let us hope that it is
the beginning, and not the end.
August 16th, 2002