Catholic Digital Communications Conference in New York City

Catholic Digital Communications Conference in New York City

Willem Klaver mhm

Recently I had the opportunity to attend an unique Conference on Catholic Digital Communications at Fordham University. The participants were meeting the initiators and producers of two recent grand initiatives towards Evangelization in the Digital World. The Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network (Apostleship of Prayer) started in January 2016 with publishing an inspiring monthly "Pope Video" (see www.thepopevideo.org) and in March 2016 it launched globally the Pope's official Prayer App titled "Click To Pray" (see www.clicktopray.org). The producers of these two projects of evangelization are really creative, professional and emphatic in their approach and methodology in order to reach the hearts and minds of especially young people. They are connecting prayer with the real world and encourage the development of a deep and personal relationship with Jesus. The motto of the "Click to Pray" app is "Together, we make each day different". "Click to Pray" encourages users to pray every day for the challenges facing humanity and the mission of the Church, as expressed by the Pope in his monthly prayer intentions. It proposes a rhythm of prayer three times a day: with Jesus in the morning, during the day, and at night. The vision of the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network is to help people to be apostles of prayer in daily life through a spiritual path called "The Way of the Heart", which transforms their way of serving Christ's mission.

The two new prayer initiatives on the digital platform are accessible to a worldwide audience in multiple languages. They are moving people to be missioners or evangelizers and enabling them to respond in love to what God wants for them. As one of the presenters, Elizabeth Scalia (Editor-in-Chief, Aleteia.org) shared with conviction: "the moment you start to pray with the rest of the world, that is how you catch the missionary spirit!" One of the main speakers was Rev. James Martin, SJ (Editor at large of America magazine, and bestselling author of The Abbey and Jesus, a pilgrimage) who presented Jesus as the great communicator and the Church's model par excellence on communication. According to James Martin, the lessons which we can learn from Jesus are sixfold: 1) Jesus communicated with everyone, including those so-called 'unworthy' of conversation 2) Jesus met people where they are 3) Jesus was not afraid to speak simply 4) Jesus was willing to try something new 5) Jesus listened and did not impose his message 6) Jesus taught with his life (authenticity). As more people are going to be active on social media, the Church must continue to use the newly risen opportunities for evangelization. Apparently, through Catholic apps and social media the smartphone has become "the electronic parish for many souls". As one participant said: "Take 10% of your time on social media and talk about God. You'll be surprised to see what happens"!

Willem Klaver mhm

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