Why would a middle-aged mother like myself groove on new media? And dare to become a podcaster, a blogger, and use social networks like Facebook and Twitter? There are several reasons, but none more important than this one: the internet is like a second home to my three young adult children. Having raised a family in the digital age, I have one observation: nowadays the search for meaning often begins with Google. Or Bing. Or Yahoo.
That’s not a joke, that’s a reality. In the web-surfing world of key word searches and tags, you never know where that search will land.
That’s why I want to see the worldwide web flooded with people who love God and aren’t afraid to show it… Especially, passionate Catholic content-providers, media-makers and social networkers. I want to make sure those searches yield websites and entertainment that effectively communicate Christian values, teaching, and wholesome entertainment that integrates faith and life.
What’s more, I long to see the incredible treasure that is the Catholic Church as a fixture in cyberspace… A vibrant bastion of truth, beauty, and goodness in the virtual world.
Let’s face it: The explosion of new media technologies is changing the way we live and work. It is changing the way Catholics grow and learn about their faith, as many turn to the internet daily for information and entertainment.
Pope Benedict XVI recently compared the web to a digital sea, asking Catholics to utilize it for the sake of the gospel. Benedict calls us to engage in the new evangelization, as did John Paul II, of happy memory. The Holy Father had this to say in a recent address at a Congress called “Digital Witnesses” in Rome:
Let us set sail on the digital sea fearlessly, confronting open navigation with the same enthusiasm that has steered the Barque of the Church for 2,000 years. Rather than for technical resources, although these are necessary, let us also qualify ourselves by dwelling in this world with a believing heart that helps to give a soul to the ceaseless flow of communications that makes up the web.
This is our mission, the inalienable mission of the Church. [Emphasis mine.]
Responding to the call for this new evangelization, the Catholic New Media Celebration, sponsored by SQPN, and hosted by the Archdiocese of Boston, takes place August 6-7, 2010. Attendees will learn how to evangelize using digital media, with special emphasis given to podcasting and blogging. “Newbies” will learn alongside “veterans” in sharing ways to use new media effectively, within an atmosphere of Christian community.
The goal of the Catholic New Media Celebration is to inspire and develop new individuals and groups to use new media: to effectively create and share powerful, unique content for the benefit of the universal Catholic Church.
“This year’s CNMC will focus particularly on three things,” says Fr. Roderick Vonhögen, host of “The Break” and CEO of SQPN. “We will be exploring the best practices for creating quality content; how authentic catechesis and spirituality are incorporated; and, how a true sense of mission is instilled in those who consume this media and become a part of our online communities,” he says.
Fr Vonhögen will lead of team of SQPN podcasters in a podcasting track. The blogging track will feature presentations by bloggers Thomas Peters of American Papist, Sarah Reinhard of Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering, and Rachel Balducci of Testosterhome and Faith and Family Live. Finally, there is a children’s track led my Allyson Sweeney of The Catholic Family Podcast and Lisa Mladnich of Amazing Catechists.
Complete registration details can be found at celebration.sqpn.com.
Two years ago, I was a writer and a catechist. Then I went to the Catholic New Media Celebration in 2008.
Today I still do those things, but now I do them using digital media.
Think what YOU can do.