During the weeks since my last blog I had two very enjoyable opportunities to share my passion for an evangelizing use of websites and social media with others. I am writing about them today
On August 5, I did a FaceTime presentation (using my iPad) on Digital Ministry for the students attending the Caribbean School for Catholic Communications (CSCC) which operates out of the Emmaus Retreat Centre in Arima, Trinidad and Tobago each summer. Sister Angela Zukowski, MHSH, from Dayton University invited me to speak to the students. It was the first FaceTime presentation experience for me. I presented 10 Tips for Digital Ministers. At the end of the presentation the students asked questions and I responded. There were 28 participants from five different Caribbean Islands of the Antilles Episcopal Conference. This is the 22nd year of the program! Congratulations to Sister Angela Zukowski and all those who had the foresight and courage to start such a program.
I spent September 9 with the staff and other parish leaders from the Catholic Community of St. John and Blessed Sacrament in Davison, Michigan, exploring what it means to have an evangelizing web presence. We started the day by reflecting on the tweet from Pope Francis in which he answers the question: What does “evangelise” mean?
In small groups we looked at other Tweets from @Pontifex which further explain how we are to live and act as a mission-oriented people. As the participants shared their reflections on the Tweets, they were amazed at how much can be said in 140 characters! Photos courtesy of Laurie Miles of St. John and Blessed Sacrament:
We then turned our attention to how welcoming and helpful we can be to the visitors to the parish website who may be new comers to our parish, seekers looking for a faith home and inactive Catholics who may wish to return. Will they find there a website that is welcoming and witnessing who we are and what we believe? What can we do to make that happen? In the afternoon, we asked similar questions about how we use Facebook for our evangelizing ministry. The enthusiasm of the group for using their website and social media for evangelization was very energizing.
Their parish, like many others, wants to update their website and their use of Facebook with an evangelizing focus. What I told them is what I have told others who have those same goals—you are pioneers! There are few models for you to follow, you will have to create your own path. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Learn from them and keep going. If you keep your focus on offering welcome and service to others in the name of Christ, you will succeed.
What is the focus of your website and social media? Please tell us below.