Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

Posts tagged ‘Parish’

Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts

Here’s a CONTEST you may be interested in!  Loyola Press is inviting catechists and their students to be part of a contest that encourages children to explore the inspiring and sometimes-surprising ways they experience God’s presence in their everyday lives.  Catechists and students can team together to create a short video that answers the question: Where do you find God?  Parishes are eligible to win the following prizes:

First prize: Parish-wide adoption of the new edition of Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts (grades 1-6)

Second Prize: $1,000 Loyola Press product gift certificate

Third Prize: $500 Loyola Press product gift certificate

What do you need to do?  Create a video that is at least thirty seconds in length and no longer than two minutes.  Parish staff members must upload entries at www.FindingGod.com/contest  by April 20, 2012.  Winners will be determined by online voting, so entries should be submitted as soon as possible to allow plenty of time to vote.

For those who are religious educators in a parish program without available equipment, tell your students about the project and theme – Where do I find God?  And invite them to create videos with their families at home.  All the information the child needs about the contest, a parent can assist them with by going to the contest website.

Watch this video to learn more about the contest.

If the children create their videos at home, they can bring their video to your classroom on a thumb drive to share with the class.  All you need is one computer to show the videos to the class.  Invite your students to choose the one that will represent their class.

Click the “like” button if you plan on engaging your class in this project.

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

I live in Florida!

Yes, I live in Florida!  So, when you’re freezing in the North I am walking outdoors in jeans and a sweatshirt in sunshine! But that is not why Florida is important at this time.

On Thursday, February 17, 2011 I was reading the St. Petersburg Times.  Right on the front page was the article – Florida looks at taking school textbooks completely digital by 2015.

Florida Texts

Florida Looking To eBooks!

As I read through the article, here are the points that became significant for me:

  • There’s a move to go all-digital in Florida classrooms.
  • State education officials rolled out a five-year proposal this week that calls for all students in K-12 to use only “electronic materials” delivered by Kindles, iPads and other similar technology by 2015.
  • “This project reinvents the way students learn and will revolutionize instruction in Florida,” says the plan presented to the state Board of Education Tuesday.
  • “Digital is here. We can choose to ignore it, or we can choose to embrace it,” said David Simmons, chairman of the Senate Pre-K-12 Appropriations Subcommittee.
  • …in the proposal, all Florida districts would begin phasing in digital-only content, first for high school students and then for all others in reading, math, science, history and language arts.
  • “It is not something you do without planning.”

I’ve been reflecting on this article for several days.  Here are some of the thoughts and questions that are flowing through my mind:

  • What will happen to our parish religious education students when they participate in parish programs and are asked to purchase a traditional style textbook when many of their other texts are available to them via iPads, Kindles, Nooks, and any other electronic reading tool?  Will they begin to think that their faith is antiquated?
  • Where are our religion publishers?  Are they moving into pilot programs with Catholic Schools to explore what will work with today’s Digital Natives?
  • Where are our parishes?  Are they beginning to explore what it will take to engage all involved in catechetical ministry with the e-tools that are moving into our students lives at all levels, put perhaps not in the religious arena?
  • Where are our catechetical leaders (at all levels), are we learning all that we are able so that we can communicate our faith to our Digital Natives with the tools that are at their fingertips?
  • Are we beginning to consider, how tools that are purchased for students with federal funds might be used in the parish arena? Do we need to advocate for this use?
  • Do we know how to budget and plan for these tools at the parish level?
  • Do we train our catechetical personnel how to use e-tools in the overall faith learning process?
  • Is it time to begin looking at the parish being the broker for Technology Planning and Training, where the School, Religious Education, Youth Ministry, Young Adult, RCIA, Sacramental, and any other parish ministries are part of the planning and development of a Parish Technology Plan?
  • Is it time for each Diocese to become a major leader of technology throughout the Diocese at all levels – Administrative Tools, Learning Tools, Online Learning Resources, Educational Technology, and more so that all parishes will  become 21st Century Parishes at the levels that are needed in today’s ever expanding technology environment?

Are these questions of value to us as catechetical leaders?  Or, are there other questions to ask?  I’m wondering how you feel about the issue of catechetical eBooks?  I invite you to contribute to the online conversation with your questions or comments.

Next Week:  What About These Google Tools?  What creative ideas do we have for using in Catechetical Ministry?

Copyright ©2011 Caroline Cerveny

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