Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

Posts tagged ‘Holy Land’

Stations of the Cross and Virtual Journeys

If you have ever been in Jerusalem, you have probably experienced praying the Stations of the Cross winding your way through tight and narrow streets.  I experienced this prayer journey in May during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  The memory of the noise, people staring at us as they passed buy, and taking a turn at carrying the cross will not be forgotten.  This is the journey that the Lord once took as he was condemned to die for us.

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So, in a digital world, how can we pray the Stations of the Cross in a meaningful way? Saint Mary’s Press is providing a wonderful way to do this with their – Virtual Meditations: Stations of the Cross.

A young person today, using QR Codes, can:

  • Actively engage in prayer by using their cell phones, iPods, or iPads
  • Use videos to inspire their prayer
  • Use technology to help them understand and reflect on the Stations of the Cross

I just prayed the stations using my iPhone, what an incredible experience.  Sitting quietly in my living room, I was able to view the virtual stations that were created by Busted Halo.  In addition, a series of suggested videos were generated showing a title and a link became available. Imagine easily having access to a variety of clips related to the Stations of the Cross at your fingertips.

A Parish Youth Group Experience

While visiting Queen of Peace Catholic Community’s Pathfinders Youth Group, I experienced a parish comfortably using technology in prayer with their youth.  Amy Barber, Middle School Youth Minister often uses technology in her sessions.  I came to see for myself how she was doing this.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that she easily adapted what could be an individual prayer experience into a group prayer experience.  How? This parish has the vision of integrating technology into its worship space.

As you view the following slideshow, you will see how these students moved from station to station, first viewing the video and then praying together.  Later I had the opportunity to ask these students what this experience was like for them.  I heard comments like: “The video helps this prayer come alive for me.” “We’re media people, I love this prayer.” “I’ve done this prayer before and we used cards to read from, it was boring.” “I learned a lot today from the videos.”

What I learned from this experience of praying with this youth group, is that media makes sense to them.  It grabs their attention.  The visuals help them understand the story of the Passion and Death of Jesus and also relate it to today’s suffering world.

I witnessed these youth understanding and appreciating a traditional prayer experience offered with a contemporary method.  Of course, as Holy Week approaches, they were encouraged to return to church with their family and friends with their mobile devices, with a QR Reader installed.  I’d love to be a mouse in the corner of this church to see who returns to pray the Stations of the Cross using the Virtual Meditations.

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Photography: Caroline Cerveny (c) 2013

Google Tools Knowledge

Google Earth

Entry to Google Earth

When you’re looking for FREE tools, Google provides several options.  Take a moment to learn about the 57 Useful Google Tools You’ve Never Heard Of! Yes, Google has broadened its Internet horizon.  It is not just a search engine!

Google Tools can be an important part of every catechist’s tool kit. All you need is a computer with Internet access in your parish, school, or home.  Often we would like to have our students go beyond what they have learned in the classroom. Or maybe we would like to ENHANCE a class session with technology.

Together, let’s begin a conversation of how we might use or how we have used a Google Tool in catechesis.  This week let’s look at two Google Tools – Reader and Google Earth!

1.      Reader : Use what you learned about RSS Feeds! With RCIA candidates who want to learn more about their faith, demonstrate how they can ADD a subscription for a topic like “Catholic”.  Show them a “Add A Subscription” feature.  Go through the list and talk about how to locate and find “Quality” Catholic blogs.  You may find the USCCB statement, Your Family and Cyberspace helpful to refer to.  This document is a reminder of how we need to carefully choose Catholic content that is web published.

2.      Google Earth : Start with a visit to Google Earth for Educators.  When you are ready, click on the Download link.  To learn more about using Google Earth, go to Build Google Earth Skills.  There is a self-paced tutorial that will provide a great overview of what you are able to do with the Google Earth Tool.  Now let’s think of how to apply this tool while we are teaching our religion classes.

Google Earth for Educators

Let’s consider how we could use this tool during Lent when a pilgrimage to the Holy Land would be most desired.  After you have downloaded the Google Earth app to your computer, load Google Earth on your computer.

a)     In your layers section of Google earth, click on the following (Roads, 3-D Buildings, Ocean, and Gallery):

Google Earth Layers
Layers section of Google Earth

b) In the Search “Fly To” Field type “Jerusalem”

Search for Jerusalem

The "Search" Fly to area

c) Once you have arrived in Jerusalem, Israel hover your mouse over the “Google Earth Community logo ( i ) to locate the “Jerusalem Pool of Siloam (Traditional ) Location.  A window with a photo, links, and a brief explanation will be shown.

Jerusalem
Going to the Pool of Siloam (Traditional)

Pool of Siloam (Traditional)

Visiting the Pool of Siloam

d) Then click on the “Category – Footsteps of Jesus” .  You will be taken to the Footsteps of Jesus website.

Footsteps of Jesus Website

The Footsteps of Jesus web page

d) Once you are here, you can click on the locations.  A photo and brief description will show on your screen.

Jerusalem Visiting Bethany
Visiting Bethany

So now you have a virtual trip to the Holy Land.  Of course, you could just go the Sacred Destinations website.  However, by integrating Google Earth into the lesson, we can get the feeling of what it is like to go from your home city to the city of Jerusalem in Israel.

I would love to hear from my readers how you have been using any of the Google tools in your catechetical ministries.  They are FREE.  Only requiring access to a computer or a smart phone with internet access.  (Yes Google Earth is an iPhone App).

I am looking forward to hearing from you!  We are the pioneers leading the way for others.  It is our sharing with one another that will help each one of us learn new ways to integrate technology into our catechetical ministries.

Copyright ©2011 Caroline Cerveny

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