On Tuesday, at INTERACTIVE CONNECTIONS, we were welcomed by Bishop John Noonan to the Diocese of Orlando, with these wonderful welcoming words:
Welcome to the Third Interactive Connections Conference! I am grateful for the presence of pilgrims such as yourselves in our Diocese of Orlando, especially when you graciously visit to become more skilled and enlightened ministers of the Gospel. I understand some of you hail from throughout the United States, including our neighbors in the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida. Some of you are visiting from Japan, and my own native Ireland. I pray you find the Spirit of the Lord upon you throughout your learning and sharing experiences during the Conference.
Pope Benedict XVI said in his homily for the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, “I would like to underline the fact that, in the face of the shadows that obscure the horizon of today’s world, to assume responsibility for educating young people in knowledge of the truth, in fundamental values and virtues, is to look to the future with hope. And in this commitment to a holistic education, formation in justice and peace has a place.”
Today, you have an extraordinary opportunity to explore the tools of technology as wondrous gifts of the Lord to form our young people with a message of justice and peace. Our young people are growing up in a world that has become smaller, where contacts between each other and different cultures and traditions are constant. As Pope Benedict also said, “For them, now more than ever, it is indispensable to learn the importance and the art of peaceful coexistence, mutual respect, dialogue and understanding.”
In a young person’s world where technology is ever present, I encourage you to spread the Good News through its use. Bring them a message of justice and peace. Show them how this message can be communicated and how these tools, which are God-given, can also be sacred vehicles to bring about joy and good will and alleviate pain and suffering. Integrate grace and culture, technology and media.
Technology cannot replace the presence of each other with each other. It cannot offer the feel of a person’s hand upon yours; nor strength of arms to hold you; nor the widening of our faces into a smile as you reach out to greet another. When we use technology to glorify the Lord, it blossoms relationship and draws us closer still to our God.
My Sisters and Brothers in Christ, may we at all times bless the Lord God, and ask Him to make all our paths straight and to grant success to all our endeavors and plans.
Thank you Bishop Noonan for welcoming us to your diocese! We are becoming Digital Disciples!