Year of Faith on the Internet—a Slow Start

by Sr. Susan Wolf, SND on October 16, 2012

in Year of Faith

A few months ago, I wrote on the Year of Faith hoping to surface institutions and individuals who would be using the Internet and social media to call attention to the renewal initiated by the Second Vatican Council 50 years ago and to deepen our understanding of the Catholic faith using the Catechism of the Catholic Church published 20 years ago. Now that the Year of Faith has been officially launched, I have been searching the web for information and inspiration on the Year of Faith.

The Vatican has a website and a Facebook page and the USCCB has several web pages devoted to the Year of Faith and resources to celebrate it.

Some Archdioceses and dioceses such as Milwaukee, Harrisburg and Cleveland have web pages for the Year of Faith. Harrisburg articulated parish goals for the Year of Faith and published the implementation plan given by the parish of St. Catherine Laboure.

I did searches on the Year of Faith on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook and did not find too much worth sharing. It is early in the year, but I am concerned that the Year of Faith will be either just another theme-of-the-year come and gone with little impact or an in-house renewal taking place in communities unwilling or unable to communicate our faith or even our faith activities over the Internet and through social media to those who may be searching for people, places, or events that can bring deeper spiritual meaning to their lives.

Our Internet and social media sharing on the Year of Faith does not have to be a dramatic major project. It can be a simple affirmation of the gift that our faith is to us and can be for others. My community’s Facebook team will be making a weekly post on the Year of Faith drawing from the documents of Vatican II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. We will also be doing four Year of Faith sweepstakes with prizes to call attention to this event on our Facebook page. It takes some research and a little effort to make these things happen, but if everyone does something, the Year of Faith can have a much larger presence in the digital world.

We do not have to be adding a lot of new projects, but carrying out our usual activities with a deeper faith perspective. As we do that, we need to say it out loud, in print and on social media. Year of Faith should not just be a theme; it should be a key phrase that shows up again and again in our conversations, preaching, publications and postings. That is one concrete way that we can create a positive unifying “buzz,” enthusiasm, and hope for our Church community going forward. This is an opportunity to be positive about our faith, let’s take advantage it.

What do you think? Am I making too big a deal of this?  Is there more Year of Faith activity on the Internet than I have found?  Please tell us what you have found.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Fran Rossi Szpylczyn October 16, 2012 at 7:42 am

Thanks for this post. I feel like I am off to a terribly slow start on this, for a variety of reasons. And my intention was to do a lot around it… I guess I still have time.

Part of it is my own ambivalent feelings about the proclamation of the YoF. Not that I am against it, but the name – I don’t know. Fellow Catholic blogger (who is a theology professor), Ironic Catholic, posted a link that said it all for me. Albeit ironically!

Catholic blog portal Patheos has a lot of YoF stuff going on, but somehow my drive to keep up with postings of any sort of Patheos is a challenge for me. There is a lot of stuff, but if all I do is read it all, I find that what little time I have for blogging and social media is further reduced.

Sr. Susan Wolf, SND October 16, 2012 at 8:44 am

Thanks for your honesty, Fran.
As I did my search for Y of F on social media and did not find much, the thought occurred to me that this project is not generating energy among the faithful (or among the hierarchy either as far as I can see). Social media use comes after enthusiasm has taken root–that hasn’t happened yet. I am an evangelizer at heart and I see revisiting the spirit of the Vatican II renewal as good for the Church and good for mission. But I may be a minority here. We will just have to see what happens.

Caroline Cerveny, SSJ-TOSF October 16, 2012 at 8:57 am

For me the USCCB website is a wonderful resource for the YoF! I’m wondering how parishes will refer back to these resources? In today’s wonderful Digital World, we can share digital resources easily with one another. One glitch I discovered related to the USCCB YoF videos – where is the embed code? If I want to refer folks to these videos on my blog, it looks like I only have access to the link. Hardly an interesting way of sharing videos.

Colleen Gerke October 16, 2012 at 9:31 am

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati has been working on an initiative for several years. This intiative responds to the Year of Faith through efforts to revitalize the Domestic Church. The are many great resources available on our website highlighting our efforts called “Christ at the Center.” I hope our webpages communicate our commitment to the spirit of engagement, partnership and dedication to families in our Archdiocese.

Joe Taylor October 16, 2012 at 9:46 am

Just to add a few more, the Diocese of Steubenville has a Year of Faith page. So does the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. FlockNote has created a system for people to sign up and receive Catechism readings in daily emails during the Year of Faith through which a person is able to read through the entire Catechism.

Roseann Quinn, SSJ October 16, 2012 at 10:59 am

Thanks for asking the question, Susan, and for exploring the possibilities. Besides the USCCB and some excellent diocesan sites, many publishing companies of books, music and faith formation suggestions, are publishing some good materials for use in parish life. Center for Ministry Development offers programs that correspond with the Year of Faith and the New Evangelization, including workshop series and downloadable resources. CNS has a daily blog on the Synod happenings. Catholic Relief Services has a whole section on Year of Faith materials. ETC.

Thanks for helping so much. Peace.

Roseann

Liliana Soto-Cabrera October 16, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Hello Sister Susan,

The Archdiocese of Newark has a website that it will continually update: http://www.yearoffaitharchnewark.org. I also noticed Metuchen has one: http://www.yearoffaithmetuchen.org.

Sr. Susan Wolf, SND October 16, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Thank you, everyone. I am happy to learn about these websites, but wondering why they are not coming up on search engines. It could be that the people managing the sites do not know about SEO (search engine optimization). It does no good to have online resources if they cannot be found. I have written an e-guide on SEO in case anyone is interested. You can order it on this site http://www.catholicwebsolutions.com/e-guides-for-ministry/seo-for-your-ministry-website-e-guide-check-list/.

Jack Cooper October 16, 2012 at 5:36 pm

The Diocese of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, has created the site http://www.yearoffaith.ca. They will be posting news, articles, testimonials, and suggestions as the weeks go by. Sr. Susan, I will point out your link to the SEO info to someone in the Diocesan Communication office.
Thanks,
Jack

Jean Soto October 17, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Hi Sister Susan,
Glad to hear that resources are popping up. But, and this is a big But,
Are there any really interactive sites? Where can the Faithful give their input and ask their questions? People want to be heard, they need virtual communities that can listen. Makes me realize that our lay training institute needs to get on the ball!
Blessings on you wonderful work.
Jean Soto
Faculty, Tepeyac Institute, El Paso Tx

Sr. Susan Wolf, SND October 17, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Jean,
You ask a really good question. Websites are important, but interactive social media sites are also needed as you point out. I have not found any such sites related to the Year of Faith yet.

Gary Pokorny October 19, 2012 at 7:52 pm

1. Thanks for your link to the Milwaukee YoF page. 2. You are right … we are slow about using social media to its fullest…and YoF is not yet making a strong showing. But maybe YoF is not the ‘reveal’ but the makeover time – opportunity to learn those ‘new methods’ for new evangelization. 3. Just to toot the horn in Milwaukee – our YoF committee, communications and evangelization offices, and auxiliary bishop are pushing beyond our normal with videos called C4 (www.archmil.org/Year-of-Faith.htm), also on youtube (www.youtube.com/watch?v=3w6AVuuPXAQ) . I hear the RSS feed, in week 2, has over 2000 subscribers. 4. Your post was shared with me by a member of our Technology in Faith Formation group – like you, keeping their finger on the pulse – glad she led me to you.

Sr. Susan Wolf, SND October 20, 2012 at 9:50 am

Thanks for your comment, Gary. It sounds like some of the ministry areas in Milwaukee are on the cutting edge of using technology for mission. I am impressed that you have a Technology in Faith Formation group. Keep up the good work!

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