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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 December, 2003, 10:41 GMT
Papal message goes mobile
The Pope delivering the Sunday Angelus prayer, AP
Now you do not have to be in Rome to hear what the Pope thinks
Mobile phone users in the UK can now sign up to receive a thought of the day from the Pope.

The thoughts sent to subscribers every day will be picked from the messages, speeches and homilies delivered by the Pope.

Messages sent to subscribers will include guidance and prayers as well as the Pontiff's thoughts on issues of the day.

The Vatican said that the service was meant for everyone, not just those of the Catholic faith.

Wholly holy

The Pope mobile service has been set up following an agreement between the Holy See, or Vatican, and mobile content firm Acotel.

The service is available on all of the UK's mobile networks.

Those interested in subscribing sign up by sending a text message reading "Pope on" to 61131.

From noon the next day and on every day of the week after they will receive a thought of the day picked from the Pope's many public pronouncements.

Mobile phone users can unsubscribe by sending "Pope Off" to the same short code number.

The service reaches the UK after being run successfully in Italy and Ireland.

The Holy See is now trialling a thought of the day service in Italy that swaps multimedia messages using pictures and sound for plain text.

Faith in technology

The text message service is not the first time that the Vatican has turned to technology to help it get its message across.

The Pope has said that a place for Christ needs to be claimed in new media and the Vatican has its own web domain .va.

Other religions have used phones to help their congregations practice their faith.

Some mosques issue the call to prayer via text message and one German church broadcast an entire service via SMS.

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