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Case Study

Catholic Church Increases Active Participation

Holographic Displays & ViewSonic Pro projectors


St. Matthew Catholic Church is a large and thriving parish in San Mateo, Calif., serving about 12,000 local parishioners. This church’s roots date back to 1776, when Father Pedro Font held the first mass on the banks of San Mateo Creek. Eventually, mass moved to the St. Matthew’s Hospice and later continued at a local public school. The current St. Matthew Catholic Church was one of the first post-Vatican II churches to be constructed and remains an architectural masterpiece in the community.



  • Encourage more participation by parishioners
  • Eliminate the dependence on songbooks and song sheets
  • Assist with the transition to a new Catholic mass format


  • Two ViewSonic Pro8400 projectors
  • Two holographic high-definition screens


  • Increased (and more full-active) participation by parishioners
  • Remote-control projectors provide easy operation during mass

We recommended ViewSonic projectors because they were the most cost-effective choice—representing at least 20-30% savings over comparable projectors on the market.

Luis Montinola, Visual Mechanical President


In early 2011, St. Matthew Catholic Church was facing several challenges. The rollout of a new Catholic mass format in November 2011 would mean a new English-language translation of the original Roman missal (the official text of prayers used in the mass)—a departure from the traditional prayers most parishioners were used to. The church also wanted a better way to engage and communicate with parishioners during mass

“During songs, for example, very few people were following along from our hymnbooks, due to the tiny print of the lyrics,” said Jim Dahlstrom, music director. “So a few years back, we started creating single-page song sheets, but this had its problems, too. Not only would we go through thousands of sheets of paper every week, the church was often littered with these sheets after each service, requiring a quick cleanup before the next mass.”

Projecting the relevant song lyrics, responsive readings, church messages and prayers on a large screen would solve all these challenges—as long as the screen didn’t detract from the church’s architectural beauty.


St. Matthew Catholic Church turned to local system integrator Visual Mechanical (San Bruno, Calif.), to recommend a new technology solution that could achieve its goals. After careful consideration of several options, St. Matthew Catholic Church invested in two 120-inch 16:9 clear high-def holographic screens to mount on both sides of the altar to ensure everyone had a good viewing angle. Being nearly transparent, the screens don’t detract at all from the interior beauty and architectural design of the worship center.

Powering the screens are two ViewSonic Pro8400 projectors, which delivered the lumen performance, ease of use, low maintenance, low ongoing costs and overall value the church needed.

“We recommended ViewSonic projectors because they were the most cost-effective choice—representing at least 20-30% savings over comparable projectors on the market,” said Luis Montinola, President at Visual Mechanical.

After a three-day installation, the screens were in place, connected to the ViewSonic projectors and ready for remote-control operation.


“Having the screens and projectors seems to have made a big difference in our worship,” said Dahlstrom. “People are singing a lot better, and we’re seeing a lot more participation. Even having the spoken prayers on screen is encouraging more people to get involved—so it’s definitely a big win for us.”

My favorite part of the new system is how it engages the assembly in full-active participation. People are looking forward and their heads are up—the perfect posture for singing—and they are responding with much more energy and confidence. We are very happy with the entire system for that reason.”