Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

Posts tagged ‘Religion and Spirituality’

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.

Wishing you all the Joy, Hope and Wonder of Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

A Christmas Message from our Aussie friends – Fraynework

Dear wonderful family and friends of CyberPilgrim , Digital Catechesis , Digital Discipleship Boot Camp, and Twitter :

One of the real joys of the Christmas Season is the opportunity to say Thank You and to wish you the very best for the New Year. May your Christmas be rich with family love, warm with friendship, happy with life’s goodness and blessed with the joys of the season.

I am especially blessed with the many friendships that have developed over the years by our wondering about, struggling with, dreaming of, feeling challenged by the technology world that surrounds us in this 21st Century.

Many of us may be Digital Immigrants and others are Digital Natives. Regardless of our tech experience, we are faced with effectively evangelizing in a Digital Culture. Thank you for being part of this digital journey.

Like the shepherds in the field, we are surprised by a bright light only to discover Jesus. Like the Three Wise Men, we will journey miles in order to be led to Jesus. Today, we can be evangelizers to lead others to Jesus in new ways with Digital Tools.

In 2013, I will continue to share my insights with you and I count on you to join in the conversation. It is in sharing our wisdom with one another in collaborative ways via blogs, wikis, twitter, Facebook and more that we will become more comfortable to evangelize in this Digital Continent to bring the Lord Jesus to others. I will be taking a brief break during this Christmas season to enjoy family and friends. I’ll be back in January!

Warmest thoughts and best wishes for a wonderful Holiday and a Happy New Year!

We will be in Orlando next week!

The third annual Interactive Connections Conference takes place Monday (evening), January 23 thru Thursday, January 26, 2012 at the Doubletree Orlando at Seaworld. The theme “Incarnating the Gospel in the Digital World” will bring together leading Catholic educators from around the world to explore the evolving role of technology in their ministries.  Responding to Pope Benedict’s call to use new technologies in the cause of evangelization, the participants will get firsthand experience of best practices and how to incorporate them into their ministry. Attendees at the conference will network with others in integrating technology into parishes and/or schools and every facet of catechetical ministry in the 21st century.

 Keynote speaker Fr. Lawrence Rice, C.S.P,  previous Director of Catholic Campus Ministry at Ohio State University and an Associate at Paulist Media Works and Paulist Communications, will focus on Preparing for the Post-computer Church. Currently he is a member of the Paulist Congregation team, as first Consultor. Learning sessions will include topics such as: Lead by the Technology at the Service of Catechesis, Mobile Technologies in Your Ministry and Church, Parish Websites: Tools of Evangelization, and other cutting edge outstanding programming.  Attendance will afford you the opportunity to interact with passionate practitioners who are ground-breakers in e-technology integration into all areas of catechetical ministry.

A new feature is Speed Dating Learning Sessions!  Here is an opportunity to meet practioners who are applying what they are learning to their parish ministries.  You will learn about – Serving Busy Catechists through Web tools for Catechist Certification, Evangelizing Through Geocaching, Parent to Parent Podcasting, and more.

A featured highlight and unique offering of the 3-day Interactive Connections Conference will be spending one or two days – at no additional cost with the FETC (Florida Education Technology Conference) in Orlando, one of the largest, most successful K to12 conferences in the United States devoted to educational technology. This gives our conference even more access to  cutting edge technologies and social media across the curriculum while being exposed to the latest hardware, software, best practices in student technology use and the opportunity to visit some 300 technology vendors.

If you are coming, I look forward to welcoming you.  If you are not, join us on Twitter at hashtag: #IC2012.  All attendees are invited to share their stories, insights, and learning’s in this space!

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

A Scripture Digital Storytelling Prayer Experience

So you would like to do a Scripture Digital Storytelling Prayer Experience with your junior high or high school students?  Or you would like to involve the young adults or the adults in your RCIA group in a prayerful digital experience?

Here is a simple process for you:

  1. Pick a reading from the USCCB daily readings.
  2. Forward the link to your students or adults.  Invite them to print out the reading or they may prefer to read it on screen.
  3. Invite them to find a quiet space where they can prayerfully read the Scripture of the chosen day.
  4. Ask them to underline or highlight the phrases that are meaningful to them.
  5. It may be helpful read the Scripture a second time, and to affirm the words, phrases, or sentences that have been underlined or highlighted.
  6. Then invite them to develop a simple script with the phrases and then to choose photos that fit the text.  (Note: They may wish to take their own digital photo’s or they may want to search for Creative Commons Photo’s that are located at Copyright-Friendly and Copyleft (Mostly!) Images and Sound for Use in Media Projects and Web Pages, Blogs, Wikis, etc.
  7. See example “Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion” script.
  8. Choose a tool to create a video.  I like Animoto for two reasons.  One, it is possible to create a FREE account and then create FREE 30-second videos; and two, the PLUS fee version is very inexpensive at $5.00 per month or $30 per year (as of April 2011).  There are other options, including using Windows Live Moviemaker which is included with most PC’s and if you have access to a MAC, you can create your video using iMovie .
  9. Other tools are described at Video Toolbox: 150+ Online Video Tools and Resources.

If you’re thinking, this is impossible to do in my parish setting, I invite you think creatively with this type of project.

Thinking creatively – “Outside the Box as they Say”

Here are several options for you to consider as you invite your participants to engage in praying with digital tools:

  • A high percentage of your participants will have computer at home, invite them to get involved with completing the project at home.
  • Perhaps those who do not have access to a home computer, can partner with someone in their class to work as a team to pray the Scripture together and then to create the video together
  • Or perhaps your parish school has a computer lab.  Here is the moment to create a partnership with the school and the computer lab coordinator/teacher.  Often, if you have a clear idea of what you would like to do, the computer coordinator/teacher will assist you with the project
  • Some of your participants will have an iPhone.  There is an Animoto App.  Go to the iTunes App store to download the free app! This will allow the student or adult to use their iPhone to take needed photos and then to use them in creating their video from their iPhone.
Animoto App

Animoto iPhone App

  • Another iPhone App was just created for Vimeo. Now you can upload, watch, manage and even edit your videos right from your iPhone. This is just the beginning, so stay tuned for regular updates with feature improvements. For now, go download it from the app store!
Vimeo App

Vimeo App

What can you do with the videos?

There are many ways to share these videos with your students, adults, and the larger parish.  The following are a few suggestions:

When you work with the Animoto website to create your video, you will notice that there are several options.

  • Notice the various choices – share, embed, Download, and Export

Animoto Share

  • When you click on “Share” notice that you are able to share the video via
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Email
    • Add to your eBlogger or WordPress blog accounts

Animoto Share

  • You will also notice that you can share your link with other Web 2.0 services.  All you need to do is to decide what services best fit your class and parish.

Animoto Share

Here is a video example for you, Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion —

You can add comments to this video which will also show up on your Facebook account.

As you begin to imagine

Yes, there are a variety of ways of sharing the fruit of your prayer with those in your class, RCIA group, or parish.  And as we share, we continue to evangelize others with the gifts of our digital prayers.

I am currently reading Eugene Gan’s, Infinite Bandwidth: Encountering Christ in the Media. He captures in so many ways why we need to be creators of web content.  Here is what he says:

We “make” media that leads people to the truth when we use our blogs or Facebook pages not just to gossip or report on the more mundane aspects of our life, but to talk about what really matters to us and why.  Our blog can be a vehicle for articulating our struggles with the culture, our questions about the Faith, or our journey to God.  In online forums we can evangelize, and on social networking sites we can post interesting articles about faith or culture that can spark discussions among friends from various viewpoints.  Even posting pictures of our children on a social networking site can communicate some of the truth about Catholic family life.  In all those ways, our use of the social media reflects and promotes an understanding of truth.  

Next week’s post

As we celebrate Easter on Sunday, April 24th I will be celebrating Easter with friends.  I will post the next article on Wednesday, April 27.  Come join in the conversation that I will begin with NCEA workshop participants around the topic of being a  Digital Age Catechetical Leader.

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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