Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

Posts tagged ‘Lent’

Stations of the Cross

Embed from Getty Images

As Holy Week approaches, we will take time to remember the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus through the Stations. Why are the stations part of our prayer? It allows us to make a spiritual pilgrimage of prayer, through meditating upon the scenes of Christ’s sufferings and death.

Following is a suggestion to engage your students in preparing to pray the stations in church:

  • Look over the following Stations of the Cross, and determine which one is best used with your students. You can assign ONE station per small group of students or if you have a small group of students, you can assign a couple of stations per group. This is their background information for the station.

Creighton University Ministry Stations
USCCB Stations of the Cross
Stations of the Cross Especially for Children
Stations of the Cross: A Devotional Guide for Lent and Holy Week

  • After assigning a station to a small group of students, ask them to draw or choose an image that represents the station. Invite them to prepare a short meditation and prayer (one or two sentences) for the station they have been assigned. There are various ways they can create their image from drawing their station on paper and then scanning to an electronic format, or using electronic drawing tools to create their drawing, or simply going over to church to photograph the station that they have been assigned.

(Or you may work with your Youth Ministry group, to have students photograph the Stations of the Cross that are in your parish church and to organize them in a Dropbox folder so that your students will have access to the Station of the Cross images from your church.)

Example of a PPT Station Template

Example of a PPT Station Template

  • Using PowerPoint (You may want to use the suggested template or you may wish to design a template) invite your students to create a PPT slide that represents the Station that they have been asked to prepare and add the image, reflection, and prayer.
Example of a Station of the Cross PPT Slide

Example of a Station of the Cross PPT Slide

  • Save the slide in two formats – 1) the usual PPT format and 2) the JPG format using the “Save As” function and for a File name use the format of Slide # (the number of the Station) so you will have files named Slide 1, Slide 2, Slide 3, etc. For FILE TYPE, choose – JPEG File International Format.
  • Now that you have the slides in a graphic JPEG format that can be used by video tools like Animoto and 30 Hands, you are ready to create a video meditation that can be shared on your parish website. Or once uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo, you can share the link with your families on the parish Facebook page or Tweet the link out to the world.

If you are not familiar with the suggested tools, you will find an introduction to these tools at the Catechesis 2.0 blog. Come and visit:

Animoto 
30 Hands

The FREE Animoto will only allow you to create a 30-second video. So, to do a longer video, you will need to purchase either a monthly subscription for $5.00 or an annual subscription for $30. I love this tool and have found that the annual investment is a wise decision. 30 Hands Mobile is a FREE app for those using a smartphone, iPad or tablet computer. Check out the 30 Hands website for additional information.

What is so helpful about this activity is that you are engaging your students in a traditional prayer experience of the church – The Stations of the Cross – by using the technology that they are very comfortable with.

You may also wish to review the following blog pages:
Stations of the Cross and Virtual Journeys, and
Stations of the Cross Multimedia for Lent

Blessings as we prepare to enter into this time of remembering the gift of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus!

© Caroline Cerveny , SSJ-TOSF

Lent Challenges

Credit: Dominican Nuns of Summit, NJ

Credit: Dominican Nuns of Summit, NJ

Lent is that wonderful season where we do penance!  And what we do as penance will be different for each person.

Those who are immersed in “technology” on a daily basis may decide to retreat from their devices for a period of time as a penance. That’s reasonable!

However, I would encourage all who have digital devices, to determine how they could use their tool to enhance their understanding of Lent  and to be a Digital Disciple.

Here are a couple of suggestions:

  • VIDEOS – Once a week or once a day, view a video around a Lent theme.  If you join Digital Catechesis (digitalcatechesis.ning.com) – It’s FREE! – You can search the video library to locate videos that others have found inspirational for the Lent Liturgical Season.

An example of a video in this library is A Lenten Meditation.  Take a moment to view it and savor the message.

  • If you discover additional videos that are not included in this video library as you search the You Tube videos, come and ADD them to the Digital Catechesis video library.
  • After you have viewed a video, determine who and how you would like to share it with. If you have a Facebook page, share the link with a short message from you with your FB friends.
  • If you have a Twitter account, prepare a 140 character message, including the video link in a bit.ly format that will share this video with your Twitter followers.
  • USCCB Website – At this website you will locate a “Printable Calendar for Lent.” A daily message is here with references to other sites for additional reflection materials.  You can easily find the daily Lent readings here.  Looking for resources about Lent, just go to the “search” field and type in “Lent.” You will discover some wonderful LENT resources here.

I’m sure there are other ways we can be Digital Disciples with one another during this Lenten Season.  I’d love to hear how you will use technology to be part of enhancing the Lent experience of your family and friends. I invite you to share your experiences by commenting on this blog post.

© Cerveny, SSJ-TOSF

This LENT: Develop Your Digital Mind

digitalminds-2

So, we’re in the middle of Lent.  A few weeks ago we were resolving to take care of _____, give up_____, or donate to _____ during this Lenten season.  These actions are all well and good.  But who amongst us even thought about developing our Digital Minds?

Here we are in the 21st century, where technology surrounds us!  For many years, most of us in ministry have kept technology at an arms length from our ministry.  Over time, we made wise decisions and a computer was purchased for our office.  We may even have purchased a laptop so that we have the flexibility to take our work home.  Overall we have gotten comfortable with word processing, email, spreadsheets, and presentation tools. Some of us are very  proficient with these tools, and others may still need to learn how to leverage these tools in order to be effective and efficient.

However, when I speak of a Digital Mind, I am calling attention to a mind that is engaged in the Digital culture, knows how to speak the ever evolving digital language, and has skills that go beyond the basics of being able to use a computer for email, word processing, presentations, and tracking our program finances.

digitalminds-3

This Digital Mind is very comfortable with technology, creatively engaging in using the digital tools for research, online learning, social interaction with others, and more.  This type of person is engaged in exploring how the desktop,  laptop, and now tablets and mobile phones can be an integral part of our ministry lives.

I invite each of you to engage in this conversation with me.  I want to distinguish between the characteristics of a Digital Mind and a Non-Digital Mind.  I am suggesting a list of seven (7) characteristics.  If there are other characteristics that you are aware of, I invite you to participate in this conversation by adding your comment to this blog post.

I would say that you have a Digital Mind, if the following characteristics are evident in your daily ministry:

  1. In a casual conversation with friends, family, or parishioners a question arises that  you are unable to answer, instead of saying that you will get back to them later, you pull out your smart phone or tablet and Google the question. You have an answer within a minute.
  2. Your TO DO list, is on your phone.  In fact, short notes that are your grocery list, and other important things you need to remember are added to your electronic note pad of your mobile tool.
  3. 10 to 15 minutes of your day is spent on FaceBook, casually looking over posts on your parish FB page, or viewing posts from your family, friends, and members of your parish.
  4. In addition, you take 5 or 10 minutes to post a faith-thought on your FB page, or a simple response – click the LIKE button, or comment to other posts. When someone posts on the parish page, that a member of your parish is in the hospital, you are one of the first to offer prayers.  On Sunday, when you see this person in Church, you can engage in a conversation where you are aware that this person has just returned home after a hospital stay.
  5. Instead of killing trees because of the paper you use to distribute a weekly newsletter to your parents, you are comfortable in creating a blog using WordPress or Edublog or any other blog tool for this newsletter.
  6. Your familiarity with Web 2.0 tools has provided you with helpful new ideas to present to your catechists.  You follow Catechesis 2.0 to learn from pastoral technology leaders what tools are available, and how you may use them!  Now many of the student activities are available online, so that others can see the projects and your students are learning how to be a Digital Disciple.  Parents and others can comment and affirm the classwork.
  7. You have a team in the parish who assists you with recording (audio and/or video) your parent sessions, catechist meetings, or other activities so that a podcast or video is available for those who were unable to attend this meeting.

and, where have you exhibited any other characteristic of a Digital mind? If you are not developing your Digital Mind, then you are:

  1. Running to your office library to find the resource you may need to answer the question.  If it is not in your office library, then you are off and running to a library, calling a friend, or just hoping that you find the right resource with the answer.
  2. Many of your notes are on a variety of sizes of paper or notebook.  When you need the note, it is lost, or you’re unable to find your spiral bound tablet, or unable to decipher what you wrote.
  3. You do not believe that FaceBook is a viable way for communicating with your family, friends, or parish community. You avoid it like “the plague.”
  4. Your weekly newsletter:  Of course you use a publishing program to create this wonderful newsletter, email it to your printer, wait a day or two for the UPS package to reach you, distribute to your children, and hope that each child remembers to give it to their parents.
  5. You go to your favorite publisher website, print off a  worksheet, go to the copy machine to make the number of copies that you will need for your students, and distribute to them.  You collect the sheets, and several students have not completed the activity and a few have not returned their worksheet and now you take a few moments to review their work and write comments on their work.  One student “doodled” a cartoon on their worksheet. Next class you return the worksheet and have a conversation with your budding artist!
  6. For those who were unable to attend the parish meetings.  You email each family with a special message about the event, and invite them to meet with you for a special session.  This time, you have 20 families unable to attend the Family First Communion meeting.  As you listen to their stories, you learn that these students are involved in sports and Girl Scouts. Have you thought of doing a webinar with them?

So even in the middle of this Lenten season, it is appropriate to ask – How am I developing my Digital Mind.  Or, do I even want to develop my Digital Mind?

I trust that you see developing your Digital Mind as a wholesome activity, that once developed will provide you with a means to be a Digital Disciple in this ever evolving 21st Century where the New Evangelization is calling us to communicate in new ways, with new tools!

May your stories of HOW you are developing your Digital Mind, be an inspiration for each of us.

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

Thinking Creatively – A Lenten Challenge

Many of us over the Lenten season are deeply involved in prayer, fasting, and almsgiving – the traditional manner of immersing ourselves in a season that calls for transformation and conversation.

Many of us are also “Digital Immigrants” in a world that is rapidly moving into electronic communication and global sharing.  Perhaps this is the season where we need to begin to imagine what it takes to transform our personal mindsets that keep us in the “Digital Immigrant” Zone into mindsets that allow us to become “Digital Natives” in ways we have never imagined.

Perhaps this is the season to challenge ourselves to transform the mindsets that we bring to the Digital Table.  How do we do that?  By prayerfully considering how we could use the digital tools that surround us to bring the faith alive with our Digital Natives.

So instead of turning to the “tried and true” materials we have used for generations – the textbook, the diocesan newsletters we receive, and other materials – that are electronic, but really they are just traditional materials that are now in a NEW format – an electronic format!

Instead, especially if we are really comfortable with the content of our faith, I invite you to play with tools that focus on photo sharing or online videos and to use your imagination.  That is, as you become familiar with the tool and/or the service, begin to ask yourself some questions:

  1. What possibility do I see here for using in my classroom (or group) for faith development?
  2. If I search using the term “Lent” what will I find?
  3. Once I find something interesting and maybe even exciting?  How can I weave it into my class?
  4. How could I share this video? this photo? with those in my class or group?
  5. What can I do with Twitter?
  6. What can I do with Facebook?
  7. What can I do with any of the tools that I become familiar with to share the faith?

So, what can you do?  Well, Let’s begin to look at Online Photosharing.  If you’re not sure what this is, take a moment to watch the Online Photosharing in Plain English video:

Yes, there are several options for photo sharing.  Which one you will use, is your decision.  Adam Pash on his blog, shares what he feels are the 5 Best Photo sharing websites. Check out what he says about each.

One of my favorites is Flickr!  I was playing with this website today – just asking myself —

  • What happens when?

In this case I just did a search using the word “Jerusalem”!  Wow all these photo’s that come directly from the Holy City of Jerusalem, created by folks like you and me.

Jerusalem Photos

Flickr Jerusalem Photos

My next question – What can I do with these beautiful photo’s?

Slideshow

Click on Slideshow link

As I looked at my screen, in the upper right hand corner I saw the words “Slideshow” and I wondered “What happens when I click on slideshow?”  To my wonderful surprise, without copying, downloading, or whatever – there was this wonderful slideshow of beautiful images about Jerusalem.

Then I continued to use my imagination and wondered – How could I use this slideshow with students or with others?  Here’s what I imagined:

  • I could tweet the link – http://www.flickr.com/search/show/?q=Jerusalem to my students or in the bit.ly format – http://bit.ly/gsF0ET With a phrase like “Come Visit Jerusalem in Lent – http://bit.ly/gsF0ET or “Where is Jesus in Jerusalem? – http://bit.ly/gsF0ET ” Then when we met in our classroom, I could ask how their visit to Jerusalem went?  What did they see?  What questions did they have? What questions would you use?
  • I could teach the students about Creative Commons Copyright and then invite them to create a 30-second video about Jerusalem using photo’s that they have found on Flickr.  Animoto is a wonderful website for this type of activity.
  • Sponsor a Church Scavenger Hunt.  Give your students a list of items they are to locate in your parish church or your diocesan cathedral.  Invite them to photograph these items.  Then they could create a PowerPoint using these items and offer explanations of what they have photographed.  The PowerPoints can be shared in class or added to your class website or who knows where your imagination will lead you.
  • And ….

Our imaginations are limitless!  I would encourage you, if you are not already using a photo sharing website, to choose one of these tools.  Then to begin to imagine how you can creatively use this tool for faith-sharing.

My imagination runs wild, when I begin to use it.  What about yours?  Of course, what’s most important in becoming a Digital Native, is that you WANT to share your wonderful idea with others.  We can all learn from one another!

What is your imagination creating?  Hope you take a moment to share your thoughts and ideas here at a CyberPilgrim blog! I’d love to hear from you!

Copyright ©2011 Caroline Cerveny

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