Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

Posts tagged ‘Christianity’

Digital Ideas for Lent!

Lent is this wonderful opportunity to reflect on various spiritual themes – the Year of Mercy and more! We often give things up.  Yet, I would like to challenge each of my readers to explore how they could “Evangelize” during Lent using any of the digital tools that are on their desktop, laptop, or any of the mobile tools that you have access to.

Why do I challenge you?  I listened to Fr. Frank DeSiano’s Webinar Lent in the Year of Mercy  recently.  And as I listened this slide was important to me –

What digital activities could be suggested?

What digital activities could be suggested?

Why?  Because my mind saw a chart just waiting to be transformed into ideas where we could be Digital Disciples and Evangelizers.  I invite you to “brainstorm” with me about possible options.  For example, I would retitle the slide to: Corporal Works of Mercy – Options for Digital Discipleship.  Then the three headings revised to: (1) Work, (2) Personal Digital Activity, and (3) Church Digital Activity.

As I begin to brainstorm, here are a couple of thoughts flowing through my mind:

(Work)To Feed the hungry  – (Personal Digital Activity) Give up a meal and contribute to the Catholic Relief Services

(Work) To clothe the naked  – (Church Digital Activity) – Create a graphic using Canva that promotes the local shelter with a call to action to bring in new or gently used clothes to give to the shelter.

Pinellas Hope-2

Use Graphic on Facebook or Tweet to your fans

I invite YOU, my wonderful readers, to continue to brainstorm for all us!  If you look at the chart, what do you see as possible options to be a Digital Disciple or Evangelizer?  I ask you to continue the conversation by clicking on the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link towards the bottom of this page.

I look forward to hearing the wonderful suggestions that you will offer this Digital Community!

Understanding the Life of Jesus

I’m always looking for wonderful examples of what others are doing to integrate technology into the teaching of Religion. I’d like to share “Understanding the Life of Jesus: an INCARNATION CATHOLIC School Big6 Research Project created by Rhonda Carrier.

Here is the project —

I encourage you to explore the project.  For those in Catholic Schools, you’ll see how Rhonda has applied the Common Core standards to this project.  More importantly, you begin to see how our students can be engaged with digital tools to expand and research faith topics.

Rhonda, thank you!  Excellent project!  For those who would like to meet Rhonda, I encourage you to attend the 5th Annual INTERACTIVE CONNECTIONS Conference in Orlando, Florida.  Here you will have the opportunity to learn from Rhonda how she is integrating technology into the religion classroom.

For those who are catechists at the parish level, these are the kinds of projects you would like to learn about, as you can easily apply what you learn here with your children.

Four Suggestions to Celebrate the Feastday of St. Francis of Assisi

StFrancis-3

Thanks to a St. Francis Day greeting from a wonderful Franciscan friend, I was reminded that the feast of St. Francis of Assisi is just around the corner. Then I thought, I’d love to do a post about this wonderful feast/saint. Of course, the big question – about what?

I quickly browsed the Digital Catechesis Video Library, and discovered that there were several St. Francis videos in this wonderful video library. Just search for “Francis” you will locate them quickly. Yes, there are many more on YouTube, but I did not want to spend hours searching through videos on YouTube that I would have to watch carefully to make sure that they were good and interesting videos. Here I could find videos that had been used by other ministers who recommended them because they found them to be inspiring, in just a few minutes!

So, what can you DO with these videos? Here are four suggestions:

  1. Send an email with a video link to your parents highlighting this wonderful feast of St. Francis and encourage them to watch the video with their children and then share what they know about St. Francis with each other.
  2. If you are working with RCIA candidates, you may wish to create a blog page about the Saint and then invited your candidates to share their thoughts, reflections, or questions about the saint. When they come for their next RCIA session, you could continue the conversation about St. Francis with the group at the beginning of class – perhaps in a prayer moment.
  3. If you have a Twitter account, “tweet” a link to your followers with a question that they can easily respond to in 140 characters.
  4. On your Facebook page, add a link with the video to your page. Write a short reflection and ask a question so that your “friends” can share a comment or two about what St. Francis means to them.

Following are several videos that focus on St. Francis.

I would love to hear from you how you may be using social media to engage your students, families, youth, and young adults in celebrating the feast of this wonderful saint.  Being a Franciscan, this is one of my favorite feast days!

(C) 2013, Cerveny

Stations of the Cross – Multimedia for Lent

Loyola Press has prepared a wonderful multimedia stations of the cross* for children.  There is a PDF document that you can download and/or print out.  In addition, there is a wonderful multimedia meditation with music and images that could be shared with your families or used in your classroom with your students.

Let’s just brainstorm quickly how you could use this multimedia presentation:

  1. Email the families of the children in your program or class. Encourage parents to share the stations prayer with their children.   Include a short invitation to your parish Stations of the Cross that will be held at your parish during Lent. Remember to include the link of this meditation in your email message.  Link:  http://www.loyolapress.com/multimedia-stations-of-the-cross-for-children.htm
  2. Open or close your class (or meeting) with the online meditation.  If you do not have access to the Internet, you can download a copy of the PDF file to your computer showing the meditation on your computer screen and/or projecting the image on a screen using a LCD projector.  Invite different students to say the prayer for each station.  You may want to have a CD Player with an appropriate choice of music in the background.
  3. If you do not have a way to show the multimedia presentation, print the meditation out and go over to your church.  You can distribute a copy of the prayer for each of the stations to the students and as you proceed from station to station, the student can read the prayer for the group.

To engage the students in being very involved in creating their stations of the cross, once you have a printed copy of the meditation distribute the sections of the meditation to small groups and/or individual students.  Invite them to create their own images for the station using any variety of media – pens, markers, crayons, etc.  Invite them to bring their drawings to class.  Collect the images and ask a high school student to scan the images for you.  Once they are in a Digital format, work with your webmaster to add the stations that have been created by your students to the parish website.

If students have access to a computer either in the classroom or at home, direct them to a shared folder using Google Docs – Presentation.  If you need information about this Google option, go to (GDocs Presentation ) or Google Docs Tutorial.  If you are interested in embedding this presentation into your blog, go to Embedding Google Docs in Your Blog Posts ) .

Of course there are other tools that you can use to create an image of the Station that you have been assigned.  For those using mobile tools (especially the iPad), you may want to encourage your families to work on creating their own Stations of the Cross with their children.  For the types of tools to recommend to your families, go to – Top 10 Apps for Digital Storytelling.  Often these tools will allow you to share links of completed projects with others.  You can ask your families to email to you the links of their meditations.  These links can then be included on your websites and/or blogs.

If you are looking for other Stations of the Cross Meditations, either for your classroom or to suggest to your families, you may want to explore:

Children’s Stations of the Cross

Stations of the Cross Carousel

Stations of the Cross for Teens

You Tube Videos – Stations of the Cross – A puppet version of the Stations of the Cross. The puppet show is created by Jesuit Brother Edward Sheehy.

Would love to hear your stories and ideas of how you are using online videos and involving your students this Lent using electronic tools.

If you like this article, click the “Like” button or add your comment to this blog.  Or, forward to others who are interested in Stations of the Cross with their children.

* The stations images are from Our Lady of the Angels Monastery, Inc., Hanceville, Alabama as shown in the Loyola Press website article “Multimedia Stations of the Cross for Children”?

(c)2012,  Caroline Cerveny

Using Facebook During Advent

Many of us have Facebook accounts.  But the question is – How are we using them?  Most of us are using them in a wonderful casual way to stay connected to our family and friends.  That’s great!  That is one of the key reasons we have a Facebook account.

However, once you have a FB account, you can easily set-up a Group!  Yes, there are three types of Facebook Groups:

  • Public (Open): everyone can see the Group, find it in a search and make posts
  • Closed: everyone can see the Group, but only members can see (and make) posts
  • Secret: only members can see the Group, see and make posts

Any of the group styles will work!  It is your choice!  Let’s say you will use the “secret” group option.  To learn more about this type of group, read the Social Media Examiner Post about How to Use Secret Facebook Groups to Enhance Your Business  you’ll notice that a business group may utilize this type of function. As you read this post, allow your imagination to consider how a FB group could be used in your ministry setting with families this Advent season.

To begin the conversation, I’m going to suggest how I would engage families in a weekly reflection on the Sunday Advent Scripture readings using a FB Closed group.  I would:

  • Create a FB group and remember to describe your group and choose and image/photo that will represent the group. (Note – Let’s assume that our parish program registration forms asks for Cell Phone number, email address, FB information, and Twitter handle. )
Description of Faith Parents group.

Group Description

  • Two weeks before the First Week of Advent, using the family email addresses, I would send a “brief” email inviting the families of the children that are in my class to participate with all of us during the Advent Season by taking a few moments out of their busy schedules to read and reflect on the Sunday Scripture readings.  Tell them that there will be a link to the Sunday Readings for them each week.  When they are ready, they can share their comment or question on our special group FB wall. Or, send a flyer home to the parents via your students and include an announcement in your parish bulletin about the group.
  • One day after the email is sent, send a “tweet” and “text message” to invite your parents to read the  email message from you.
  • One Week Before Advent begins: Invite each family to the FB group.
  • Post the Sunday Scripture Readings for the 1st Sunday in Advent, using the link from the USCCB Readings website.
Advent FB Reading

Facebook Closed Group

To get the conversation going, you may have encouraged several of your parents to post their reflection early in the week.  Make sure you check the posts at least once daily and comment back.  Remember, this is a place for a simple online conversation and sharing about what these Scriptures mean to you.

  • At the end of the Advent Season, thank  your parents for their participation in the Advent Scripture sharing.  You may want to use a Zoomerang survey to get feedback about their experience with this online faith sharing activity.
  • I hope that this article has sparked a possibility or two in your imagination.  More importantly, I trust that you will share your story about how you are going to use (or thinking of using) a FB group in your ministry with families, or youth groups (13 and older), or RCIA ministry.  Looking forward to hearing from you!  Join in the conversation!

Remember to click on the “like” button if you like this post.  Or, forward this link to other catechists who would be interested in hosting an Advent online Scripture Reflection group with parents, young adults, and anyone who is interested in sharing online.

Copyright ©2011 Caroline Cerveny

The Times – They are a Changing!

This wonderful term “New Media” – what do we do with it?  The world around us is changing.  And as this world changes, we need to begin to explore who we will bring on board to assist us in our parishes and dioceses so that we can integrate these wonderful digital tools into evangelization, catechesis, and communication ministries.

Photo of Thomas Sanjurjo

Thomas Sanjurjo

I’d like to introduce you to Thomas Sanjurjo, who recently joined the team/staff at Nativity Catholic Church in Brandon, Florida.  What is important to note, is that he is their first Electronic Outreach Director.  I met him recently at a Sunday liturgy.  After Mass we chatted in the parish hall over coffee.  I left the conversation with Tom with a sense that this parish portrays a model of what it means to be an emerging 21st Century Parish.

Nativity Catholic Church

Why is he important to this parish?  We are now in the midst of an ever evolving Digital Culture that has its own language and tools.  Many of us often feel that we are strangers on the edge observing a world that is both exciting and terrifying.

If I were a missionary in a foreign land, initially I would feel intimidated by not knowing the new language or culture.  Even though I would desire to share the Gospel with others, they would not understand me.  I might possibly offend them, not knowing how important it is to only shake hands at our first meeting instead of giving a warm hug.

Missionaries today are trained in both the language and culture of the country and people they will serve. By the time they arrive in their new and foreign land, they already speak the language and know the fine points of what is acceptable or not in the culture.

So, if we stop to think about the Digital Culture surrounding us. It is a new language and a new culture!  Who is teaching us the language and the ways of this ever evolving culture?

Yes, a professional like an Electronic Outreach Director will not only do ministry via the parish website, Facebook page and more, he/she will also be responsible for training the staff and even parishioners.  After all this Digital Culture affects all of us!  This parish now has an in residence mentor whose job it is to be involved in electronic outreach.

Tom’s description offers an excellent model of a 21st Century minister who is focused on being a Digital Disciple.  He is to be a catalyst in his parish to bring others onboard with being 21st Century ministers and parishioners.  He shared this model of what he is currently doing in the parish:

Electronic Outreach Director Model

Yes, he will be responsible for the daily feeds and updates of the parish FaceBook page, developing and coordinating the parish blog, uploading the Sunday homily to Sunday Mass Podcast, and training his staff and parishioners, and more.  His ministry is just beginning.  It will be a delight to hear more about his ministry in the future.

I’m sure that there are other positions being created at the parish or diocesan level.  If you are aware of these new positions, I invite you take a moment to introduce us to the new position and who is serving in this role.  Let’s share in how we are becoming a 21st Century church!

Copyright ©2011 Caroline Cerveny

The Advent Season – Week 3

As we immerse ourselves in the season of Advent, over the next two weeks, I will share with you videos, music, and various presentations that I’ve located on the Internet.  May these materials be an inspiration to you as you enjoy what others, who are like you, have created.  If you like, you may forward the blog link to other catechists, parents, friends or anyone in your parish communities who would like to pause for a moment to prepare their minds and hearts over these next weeks for the celebration of the Lord Jesus into our lives!

Third Sunday of Advent Readings December 12th


New Original Christmas Song performed by Kristen Trayer and set to the edited images of the timeless movie “The Nativity Story”. This song is available for purchase on iTunes. This video will warm your hearts, inspiring feelings of love through the humble perfection of the Nativity. Celebrate his birth all around the Earth, it’s Christmas!

Student Project

The Season of Advent

Student Advent Project

Advent History

Advent

Advent History

Advent Prayer

Advent Prayer

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