Image courtesy of @meetkoin on Facebook
By Catherine O’Grady
On Sunday, October 25, 2020, Koin, a platform created to connect like minded Catholics of all ages, launched its app on Apple Store and Google play.
Eric Niehaus, the app’s founder and CEO, describes it as “a way for local Catholics to connect.” Users sign up with basic information and are then placed in communities based on their parish affiliation, interests, and geographic neighborhood.
“Catholicism is a big foundation for potential relationships whether that’s romantic, platonic, transactional, spiritual, or professional,” Niehaus said.
“Once [Koin has] everyone in one place, [it ] then gives them the tools to find and connect to those with whom they can build meaningful relationships, whether neighbors, people with similar interests, or fellow parishioners,” said Niehaus.
Niehaus was inspired to start this service from his own struggles trying to find and form Catholic community. He saw the need for a platform after his work running a facebook group for young Catholics in the D.C. area. Along with his work on the social media platform and his own experience as a member of a Catholic parish, he found that parishes weren’t providing the type of community he desired. Parish run events only attract 5% of parishioners.
“With so many Catholics in so many different places, if we can merely give the laity a way to connect with one another then we not only relieve priests and parishes of the burden of providing a type of community for which they were not trained, but we can also just create bigger stronger more beautiful communities all across the globe, many more diverse communities.”
Niehaus has placed a particular emphasis on the function of Koin, as it is not only to assist the creation and growth of bible studies and rosary prayer groups, but also invite catholics into other communal activities.
“It’s beyond mere ritualistic practicing of the faith,” said Niehaus. “[Catholics] can go out and hike, play bocce ball, or volunteer together.”
Niehaus has already seen success in his company as a result of the “soft launch” of the app in March. There are over 40+ active groups tied to Koin before the application officially launched.
“Our goal is to build even more beautiful Catholic communities — complementing and supporting our overburdened parishes — and we’ve already seen success, with both platonic and romantic relationships developing as a result. Our vision is to do this all across the world, becoming a universal tool for a universal Church.”
To download the app and start connecting with Catholics in your area click here.