New Vatican website to push interactivity

The Vatican is planning to launch a more interactive website later this year aimed at bringing together the faithful, according to an interview with Vatican webmaster Sr Judith Zoebelein.

Zenit reports that in the latest Business Week magazine, Sr Zoebelein (pictured) said that the website will include personal news updates, e-learning programs, and areas set aside for families, young people and parishes.

It quoted Sr Zoebelein, the editorial director of the Internet office of the Holy See, saying: "People will be able to find each other and work together online, and then go back and use what they have learned or done in their own communities."

Sr Zoebelein, a 57-year-old American, grew up in a middle-class household in the Hamptons on the eastern tip of Long Island.

According to Business Week, she and a handful of colleagues were internet pioneers when, in 1995, they launched the Vatican website. Since then, she has greatly expanded the site, including images of art from the Vatican Museums, a powerful search engine, and videos of restoration projects.

For aficionados of Renaissance art, the site is a revelation because of its use of 360-degree photography of the Vatican's galleries and close-ups of artworks. Many of the Vatican's finest paintings are ceiling frescoes. The only practical way to see them close up is on the website.

The Vatican website, www.vatican.va, comes in six languages and has been nominated for a prestigious Webby Award.

The current Vatican site typically gets about 1 million unique visitors per month but when John Paul II died last April, it spiked up to 1.8 million US visitors.

New Vatican Web Site Expected (Zenit 1/5/06)
O Click All Ye Faithful (Business Week 8/5/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
The Holy See

Second Vatican web site will debut in the fall (Catholic Transcript September 2005)

3 May 2006