I literally just finished watching a video trailer on YOUTUBE from Fr. Barron on his new series “Catholicism: The New Evangelism.” The trailer includes the mention of Social Media. He is a Catholic, a man, a priest, who uses this great tool to spread the Gospel message.
Last week, Elaine Menardi and I gave a presentation on the use of Social Media. This was to the CSA Kickoff meeting, and the audience included priests, lay persons, deacons, and the Bishop. I don’t know about Elaine, but I have been “accused” of loving this stuff, social media and all its toys. It is true, but what I love MORE and what forms the basis on why I utilize Social Media, is the Gospel Message. It is that unconditional LOVE of God for all. When I truly began to open myself to the reality of this message, it changed the way I experience the Catholic Faith and the way I view my life. It was and still is a time of conversion.
I want to share this conversion with others; not for my sake, but so that others can have an opportunity to open themselves more and more to God’s unconditional Love, and then they themselves to share their own faith stories with others. This is Evangelization at its heart.
The ministry given to me as priest is to help people find, own and share their stories of faith. Priests along with all the Church’s ministers have been doing this for millennia. We have used the oral medial through preaching; written media through letters, and books; and now we have new tools in the social media.
These days we can communicate with more people than just our Sunday congregations. We can reach people in their homes, workplaces, school, or wherever they are. We can reach them through their phones, tablets, computers and their smart tv’s. Likewise, the people can talk with us, reach out to us for advice, counsel, information and more.
It can and will never replace the energy, the spirit of one on one between two people. Yet, it can offer to all more opportunities to set up and enhance that one on one meeting.
We also must remember that Christ sent out the apostles to spread the good news. He sent them to the people who were hurting, oppressed, or isolated. We too are an apostolic church sent out; into the blogosphere, into the internet, into world of facebook, Google, YouTube, et al. Sent there, because that is where people are, people who are hurting, oppressed and isolated.
I embrace these new tools. I embrace them because again, I believe in the Gospel. I believe in its liberation. I believe in the community that gathers around it. I believe in our Church; those gathered at Eucharist on Sunday and those gathered on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Blogs….