The Catholic church in the Philippines has taken up text messaging as a new way to spread the Gospel. Manila's auxiliary bishop Socrates Villegas has announced the launch of 'Catextism' - a service which allows Filipinos to access spiritual readings and prayers through their mobile phones. "Texting is now undeniably a way of life for the largely Roman Catholic Philippines," he said. "The very same instrument, the cellular phone, which represents the hustle and bustle of many Catholic lives, now gives reminders and guides to prayer. Catextism's message is that God is with us in all situations." The bishop said the service was being implemented in cooperation with the Jesuit Communication Centre in Dublin, and the Philippines' two top cellular phone companies. To access the service, mobile phone users have to key in the word 'Amen' and send it to a certain number. They will then receive a menu of spiritual readings and prayers. "Text messaging is a powerful force for shaping the minds and hearts of the children of God, all over the world," he said. With more than five million cellular phone subscribers exchanging 150 million text messages everyday, the predominantly Catholic Philippines is one of the world's largest markets for text messaging.
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