Nigerian startup helps local churches digitize

A mobile phone app is helping Nigerian worshippers to stay in touch with God - virtually.

Church-goers like Henry Okolo can check in on the app every Sunday morning to listen to a virtual service.

The father-of-two has used it to help his family pray at home while churches are closed.

The O'Sanctus app was created last year by Nigerian tech firm Applus Dome Limited.

It allows Catholics to not only attend services, but also reserve time with priests and make financial offerings.

"It was a welcome development because it made so many things easy for us, it cut the gaps of trying to access the (parish) office sometimes, so you can do all of those from the convenience of your house."

This kind of digital worship is part of a broader trend across Africa, which is home to the highest number of Christians on any continent - roughly 631 million people as of 2018.

O'Sanctus was originally launched as a church management tool for one parish, but now covers four digitized parishes and has garnered more than 3,000 subscribers.

Its inventors say that although it's especially convenient during lockdown, it's also an app for efficiency.

And will prevent the need for worshippers to spend extra time waiting to see their priest when life returns to normal.