This committed Catholic shows that when you see a need and have an idea, a ministry can be born.
Thomas Delenda got his start in the world of online evangelization through his work right here at Aleteia. Seeing the power of media, and how much could be accomplished through such things as crowdfunding sites, the “concept of crowdpraying was born,” he told us.
Six months later, Hozana was launched.
“I think it is particularly important in this world where people tend to feel increasingly alone and isolated, in their faith or in their lives altogether. When you join Hozana, you see that hundreds, thousands of people are praying with you. You can leave comments and prayer requests, pray for other people and receive prayers. You are not alone, you are supported in your faith, and encouraged in your prayer life, which we all know can be hard to keep up,” Delenda explained.
He said that testimonies of users who have been impacted by Hozana range from the young — “we received a testimonial from a 14-year-old boy who used to feel isolated in his faith in his high school and has now found a community of faith thanks to Hozana” — to the elderly, who cannot get to Mass. “Testimonies also come from people who live in Muslim countries and have no Christian brothers to share their faith with, and who find those brothers and sisters here, on Hozana,” he added.
We asked Delenda to tell us more:
Concretely, what does a user have to do to participate?
Delenda: Hozana is a social network of prayer that allows you to create or join online prayer communities. For example, you can join a community to receive daily Bible readings with commentaries from Mother Teresa, John Paul II or other great spiritual leaders. Or you can get specific meditations to prepare for Easter and Christmas. And if you’re seeking happiness, you can join retreats to find peace or direction in your life! On Hozana you will find hundreds of beautiful spiritual themes and groups, each with a group leader who posts messages or meditations. Members can leave prayer requests, comments about those messages, and can pray for one another.
Those online prayer communities are organized by worshipers, religious communities, media and other Christian organizations. You can also create your own community of prayer, to organize prayers for specific causes by inviting friends and loved ones.
The website is now open for preregistrations, you can leave your email to be informed of the launch, and as soon as we launch you’ll find a page with all available prayer communities, and the possibility to create your own.
What is your own experience of prayer and what do you wish others knew about prayer?
My own experience of prayer is that having a great prayer life is a big challenge! It is so hard to be loyal to it and persistent! But I do have one great piece of advice, which comes from my father. He passed away when I was 15 years old, and he left us a spiritual testament. In that statement, he asked us to say at least one Hail Mary every day, whatever happened, even if we didn’t believe anymore. He said: “If you say it, you can be sure that Mary will come for you when your time will come.”
I have been loyal to this daily prayer ever since, even during my teenage years when God was definitely not a priority for me. And I believe this daily prayer has had a great impact on my life, and is probably one of the reasons I truly met God some years later: my door has always been slightly open for Him, 15 seconds a day with this small prayer, and that’s all God needs from us, a little openness for him to come in our lives and transform them.
“By your endurance you will gain your lives,” says Jesus in Luke 21:19, which in French is translated more like “be loyal and persistent and you will save your soul.”
Praying every day is the key. Start small, really small if you like — one Hail Mary, one Our Father, or even just a sign of the cross — but keep it up, and gradually increase as the need to spend more time with the Lord naturally increases.
What are your future plans for Hozana?
Hozana has been in French since 2014. It has gathered more than 160 000 French speakers, and we have greatly improved the website and user experience. We are therefore finally ready to internationalize the concept; we are now launching the preregistrations for the English edition, and we will very soon launch a Spanish edition, and maybe even a Portuguse edition! (Though this latter edition remains yet to be confirmed.)
That’s the next big step and for now we’re focusing on it. Next, we have hundreds of ideas of new functionalities to create a wonderful online prayer experience with your friends. Our goal is to gather some day tens or even hundreds of millions of people praying together!
Here are some numbers:
- 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
- Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
- Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
- Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.
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