Tired of looking out on a silent congregation, a priest in Southern Italy has launched Karaoke-style mass.
Back in May, Father Antonio Russo was appointed parish priest in the church of Santa Sofia in Albanella, a town of about 6,000 some 300 kilometers south of Rome. Finding himself surrounded by mute parishioners, Don Russo decided to take action.
He installed a large screen near the altar that provides all the words to the liturgy plus all the verses to the songs, hoping to get some more participation. A lay person controls the Karaoke board from the pews with a remote control.
“The spirit is to get the faithful to participate,” said Don Russo. “We hope to make the church an important point of reference. ”
The battle may be an uphill one: 90 percent of Italians are baptized but only about a third are churchgoers.