Father Benoît Hounton, priest of the Diocese of Cotonou and designer of software and applications/Juste Hlannon/LCA
Father Benoît Hounton, 47, a priest for 15 years, holds a degree in computer management and a master’s degree in computer systems engineering and computer project management. Passionate about computers since his studies at the seminary, he has been involved since 2013 in the design of software and applications for the benefit of Christian faithful, schools, parishes and dioceses.
The story dates back to 1999. While they were completing their first year of philosophy at the Saint Gall Major Seminary in Ouidah (Benin), one of their trainers, Father Pierre Legendre, priest of the Society of African Missions (Sma) , asks the seminarians if there were any among them who would like to take advantage of the holidays to learn about computers.
The click was thus made in the mind of the young Benoît whose father Legendre will have financed part of this first training in computer science. “ That’s how, when I came back for the holidays, I started with training in the seizure operation at the Bon Pasteur parish in Cotonou. recalls Father Hounton.
Ordained a priest in Cotonou on July 29, 2006, cumulatively with his duties in parishes, he enrolled for university studies in computer science and obtained, in 2011, a degree in computer management. In 2013, he completed, as valedictorian, a master’s degree in computer systems engineering and IT project management. He was then assigned to the IT department of the diocesan bursary in Cotonou where he served for seven years before being appointed, in 2021, parish priest of Saint Michel d’Agbodjèdo, about forty kilometers from Cotonou.
Free applications and software for parishes and the faithful
From 2013 to 2022, Father Hounton designed around ten software and applications. “ In 2013, I designed and created “Bengespa”, a software that about sixty parishes in the diocese of Cotonou currently use for parish management. explains the priest who also designed “Bengscola” for school management.
He has, moreover, “designed eight applications for smartphones including the Episcopus application”, in 2020. This is an application that can be downloaded for free from Playstore and through which interventions by the bishops of the ten dioceses of Benin are made available. He also created apps like “ divine praise » which gives access to songs of praise in French, « Eni kpa Mawu » which offers a bouquet of songs in Fon and Gun (two languages of southern Benin, editor’s note), « Breviary » to have access, in French and in English, to the texts of the liturgy of the hours, « Loisir » which contains Christian films , “Catechism” which presents catechetical teachings, etc.
Computers as a tool for evangelization
For the computer priest, his design of software and applications is part of evangelization. ” It is not a parallel activity, but rather a passion that integrates the duty of state “, he explains.
However, these various innovations do not seem to be frequent enough yet. For “Episcopus” for example, which currently only has 75 downloads, Father Hounton “ relies heavily on the various communication cells of the dioceses to enrich the application and allow the faithful and everyone to discover what the Lord is saying to his Church today through the bishops “.
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Father Hounton’s dream, ” it’s to see a lot of people taking an interest in these applications, feeding themselves through them in their daily lives; that the greatest number can receive the Word of God and put it into practice “.
Just Hlannon (in Cotonou)
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Benin: Father Benoît Hounton designs applications and software for the Church
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