Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

Archive for October, 2012

Using YouTube Videos for Prayer

For those who are members of the Digital Catechesis Network when you search the video collection with the “prayer” tag you will find wonderful resources that can enhance your prayer experiences.

A few of these videos are:

Many of these resources are on YouTube.  I would encourage you to search YouTube for the gems that would be a wonderful addition to your prayer experiences.  Together let’s explore and find the videos that we can use to enhance our prayer experiences.

If you would like to join Digital Catechesis, please click on the link and click on the join button.  You will be able to locate videos that others have found to be of value to them or you can add your wonderful find to the group.

There are many wonderful videos on the YouTube network, that are FREE.  Even if you do not have the equipment that you need to display them in your classroom, you may email the link to your students and families via an email or embed in a blog post or who knows what other options you have!  You can use these videos to enhance what you are doing in Faith Formation with your students, youth, and families.

If you like this post, take a moment to click on the LIKE button below.

Copyright ©2012Caroline Cerveny

Teaching Religion in the 21st Century

We are in the midst of re-imagining the methods we use today in the classroom.  When I review a lesson suggestion like I discovered this morning titled “Jesus and Prayer  ” by Mike Amodei, I quickly ask myself, How could I teach this same lesson in ways that our typical Digital Natives could really become engaged with?

Allow me to share how I would restructure this lesson so that it is a “blended” experience of the following:  At home reflection, integration of technology, small group sharing, and maximizing the F2F time in the classroom, and encouraging our students to become Digital Disciples.

Part 1

The week before this lesson, I would email members of the class with a message similar to the following:

Dear (Student Name):

In our next class (add the date) we will focus on the occasions when Jesus prayed.  Using the online New International Bible version, please look up the following Gospel references that provide background on each occasion.

When and How Jesus Prayed

1. Jesus prayed when preparing for something important. (Luke 6:12-13)

2. Jesus offered prayers of praise. (Luke 10:21)

3. Jesus prayed in thanksgiving. (John 11:41-43)

4. Jesus petitioned his Father for many things. (Luke 22:31-32)

5. Jesus prayed from Scripture. (Mark 15:34)

6. Jesus prayed at the time of his Death. (Luke 22:34; 41-42; 46)

After you have read the verses, working in groups (link to a PDF file where the groups are assigned), create a video that summarizes when and how Jesus Prayed.

I am encouraging you to collaborate with one another using Google + Hangouts. Or, you may want to meet over lunch with one another. This way you can plan your script and implement your digital project.

I am suggesting the following tools for creating your video or multimedia project:

  • Animoto – Creates a 30-second video with images, text, and music.
  • VoiceThread – a collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos and allows people to navigate slides and leave comments in 5 ways – using voice (with a mic or telephone), text, audio file, or video (via a webcam).
  • Vuvox– Use the COLLAGE feature for WYSIWYG online multimedia layout and sharing.

As a team, decide on the tool that will best express the story you want to tell about when and how Jesus Prayed. If you are not familiar with the tools, check out the tutorials that are often included on the website.  You may also want to go to YouTube and search for (Tool Name + Tutorial) for a brief video tutorial about the tool.

If you have any questions, let me know.


(Your Name)

(Instructor Note: This type of project can be used to encourage your students to use technology for faith-based conversations. A skill we want our students to have in this 21st Century. If students are reluctant to use email, then have the material ready to distribute to them on a handout.)

Part 2

Three days before the class, text or twitter the following to all of your students:

Jesus Teaches about Prayer – summarize and rate – the readings about prayer.

Note to catechists:  Using an online survey tool (e.g., (Quia – survey; Survey Monkey) you can convert the questions into an online survey form.  (Here is an example ( ).

Part 3

For the class, you may want to consider the following:

  1. Welcome the class and make a few comments about the theme “Jesus and Prayer”
  2. Invite students to share their video reflection with the class about “When and How Jesus Prayed”.  (Note – there will be 3,4, 5, or more videos depending on how you structured the size of your small groups.)
  3. Have the summary of the survey responses ready to share with your students (You could show via a LCD projector or you may want to print out a summary of the responses to share with the students)
  4. Depending on the responses, you can discuss as a class why students feel that the prayer is – 1—very difficult; 2—difficult; 3—somewhat difficult; 4—no problem at all.
  5.  You may wish to have other questions ready, depending on the responses from the students.

Part 4:

Note after the class is completed, you may wish to do the following:

  • Add the project links to the class Facebook Group Page
  • Include the project links in the Class blog.
  • Invite your students to share their group projects with their FB friends, and add a faith-based message.

This is an example of how this lesson could be re-worked using the tools that our students have easy access to.

Of course, it may happen that a student does not have Internet access at home.  Here is where you encourage them to work on these projects via the school or local library.  They may even have a good class friend where they can work at their home with the home assignment part of the class.

More importantly, I’m assuming that you are teaching in a 21st Century Style classroom, where you are able to bring your laptop or tablet and have easy access to the following: Internet, LCD Projector, Screen, and Speakers.  If not, you do not have access to these tools, it is time to start advocating for them.  After all, we are now living in the 21st Century!  In addition, you have Acceptable Use Policies in place and mentor your students in being good Digital Citizens.

Would love to hear how you might adapt this lesson so that it is a blended approach fitting of the 21st Century.  If you feel that this is a good example of 21st Century teaching,  please do click on the “Like” button.

The Year of Faith


On October 11, 2012 we will formally begin the Year of Faith.  Why?  This date marks the opening  of Vatican Council II – 11 October 1962.  As we celebrate the 50th Anniversary, it is a good time to reflect on our faith and the meaning of New Evangelization.

If you’ve not heard about the USCCB Leadership Institute, I would encourage you to visit this website.  Here you will find…

An exciting new series of webinars focused on the “New Evangelization”. The webinar topics and presenters were approved by the Bishops Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis and the Bishop Chair of the Bishops Committee on Catholic Education. Once posted, participants will be able to access the webinars online. Live Q&A sessions with a presenter panel will be held three times during the year.

The first of the webinar series is “The New Evangelization: Implications for the Church Today” led by Very Reverend James A Wehrner, STD.

As I listened to the presentation, I became aware that in understanding “Evangelization” – what is important is that we are about “Proclaiming the Gospel” to those who have not heard the Gospel, those who have heard the story and need to be nourished day by day, and of course to be in the midst of ecumenical endeavors.

So, how do we evangelize and proclaim the Gospel with new media?  As I listen to each presenter, that is the question that will be in the back of my mind.

After listening to the New Evangelization presentation, I began wondering how Facebook could be used as a new media option for evangelizing others. On February 17, 2012, Melissa Fach posted an InfoGraphic of 2012 Facebook Stats.  When you look at the USA states – 50.3% of our population is using Facebook as a tool to communicate with others.  Many of our Catholic members use Facebook as a social networking tool.

But how can we evangelize with this tool?

FaceBook Stories

A story that I discovered last Fall in Facebook Stories was about a wife of a Protestant Minister who recognized a neighbor’s name on Facebook and began a conversation with him.  It turned out that he was a non-practicing Catholic.  Over several months, she just carried on an informal conversation with him about his family and work.  And then one day she asked – Are you going to any Church?  His response was “no.”

She then invited him to her husband’s Church.  Of course she shared the church website with him and told him more about who they are as a faith community.  A few weeks later, her neighbor friend attends a Sunday Service and begins his journey of belonging to this faith community.

Many of our neighbors are no longer practicing Catholics.  And it appears that there is a 50-50 chance that they are using Facebook.  If you connect with them using this tool, are you willing to be one to carry on the conversation that perhaps may result in their returning to the Catholic faith?

Other examples of how Facebook is being used by Catholic individuals, groups, and organizations are the following:

The Living Water Community posts a daily reflection.

Nativity Catholic Church , has a Facebook group were both parish and non-parish members can ask questions and share what is happening at their church with one another.

The Joliet Diocesan Religious Education Office is using an Information page for ministry in the Diocese of Joliet for Directors and Coordinators of Religious Education and Adult Faith Formation.

James Martin, SJ  – I’m a Jesuit priest, culture editor of America magazine and author of the books “The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything,” “My Life with the Saints,” “Becoming Who You Are” and “A Jesuit Off-Broadway.”

These are just a few examples of how Facebook is being used to share faith with one another using new media. Facebook can be used in this whole process of New Evangelization.  I’m sure that there are many more examples out there.  Would love to hear your story!  How about sharing your story in the comments section of this blog!  Would love to hear from you.

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