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The Digital Parish

This past weekend I had the great opportunity to attend “The Digital Parish” workshop at St. Mary’s on the Lake at Lake George. Although I have been blogging on one form or another since early 2007, I began my Catholic blogging at my home parish of St. Edward the Confessor 6 years ago. In the fall of 2011, our parish blog got started. At that time, I undertook evangelizing in this “digital mission field” as part of my graduate studies, when I had to do a year long practicum. My studies may be over, but our blogging is not! Let’s make God present out here. Please contact me if you think you might like to submit something for publication. 

In any case, here is a post that I had on my personal blog, which gives you a sense of the workshop, along with some other things that are going on. And a big thank you to Fr. Jerry, who made the workshop journey possible.

That's me on the left... wait, on the right. Well - both! Some photo trickery for you.

That’s me on the left… wait, on the right. Well – both! Some photo trickery for you.

Once again days go by and posts do not go up. It is a pattern, and while posting itself may not be consistent, this pattern sure is! Last week found me awash in meeting deadlines. Procrastination is a particular gift of mine, and it is a gift that stands tall in my life. This week won’t be that different – I guess no week is that different for me!

imagesMore about the writing that I have been working on in a moment, but first things first… Last week a truly wonderful book was published, and I cannot recommend it to you highly enough. The Social Media Gospel, Sharing the Good News in New Ways by Meredith Gould is now available! A full review will follow, but for now, hear me when I say that this is a great book. It was an honor to have been asked to read an early copy and to provide what is commonly known as a book blurb to the publisher, so I have known about this work for some time. I am thrilled that the book is finally out, and in such an attractive volume. What – you want an ebook? Of course that is available, too! Order either version up right here. Parishes or groups wanting to embark on social media ministry should consider bulk orders; contact the publisher for further info.

There is no one who knows more about faith and social media than the woman whom I have called, “the apostle of the internet.” Meredith Gould is tireless in her promotion of #chsocm, aka, church social media. Go check out that #chosm link, or better yet, put that Twitter hashtag to good use by checking it out, and using it as well.

Along those same lines, I attended a great workshop from Friday to Saturday, which dovetails quite nicely with the book. It was a tremendous blessing to return to the (greatly refurbished) peaceful and prayerful place of respite and retreat known as St. Mary’s on the Lake. What? You live in the area and you have not been there? Oh, you *must* go! St. Mary’s is the summer home of the Paulist Fathers who are based in New York City.

There is a special place in my heart for the Paulists who “seek to meet the contemporary culture on its own terms, to present the Gospel message in ways that are compelling but not diluted, so that the fullness of the Catholic faith may lead others to find Christ’s deep peace and ‘unreachable quietness.’ Paulists do not condemn culture, nor do they try to conform the Gospel to it. Rather, we preach the Gospel in new ways and in new forms, so that the deep spiritual longings of the culture might find fulfillment in Jesus Christ. To this end, Paulists use printing presses, movie cameras, and the Internet to give voice to the words of Christ – the Word Himself – to a new generation of Americans.”

Larry Rice, CSP proudly holding up his copy of The Social Media Gospel by Meredith Gould!

Larry Rice, CSP proudly holding up his copy of The Social Media Gospel by Meredith Gould!

Sorry, that was long but so necessary to understand this great order of priests. You can find out more about them by visiting their website. They may be best known to a generation of younger Catholics and other spiritual seekers at Busted Halo.

The workshop was lead by Larry Rice, CSP. Father Larry was previously unknown to me, but got a big thumbs up from people who are both familiar with the Paulists and the power of church social media, my dear friends, Mike Hayes and Paul Snatchko. It was indeed a great workshop and we all learned and shared a lot in a short time. I don’t know how I did not know Father Larry before, but I know him now and am grateful for that!

By the way, if you can get yourself up to St. Mary’s on the Lake for a visit, I urge you to do so. Come on people, gather your parishes, your worship communities, your small faith sharing groups, or others with whom you gather in prayer – all are welcome! People of all faiths are invited to St. Mary’s on the Lake. You will find great natural beauty, peace, a quiet corner of Lake George, so please consider a visit.

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The accommodations are freshly painted and the common spaces are upgraded. As for the food… What can I possibly say? Best. Food. Ever. Seriously – if you do not believe me, go and find out for yourself. Site manager Ethan Allen has such a tremendous spirit of hospitality that you will feel gathered up in welcome the minute you drive up. And the man can cook – it is truly heavenly food!

So all of this has kept me busy along with some writing assignments for offline matters. I am also gearing up to take the helm at one of my favorite blogs, Catholic Sensibility, next week. Todd is going on retreat, and he must really need one if he hands the keys over to me. Honestly – what a privilege to write in this esteemed spot, easily one of my favorite blogs in all of #chsocm. I will somehow do for Catholic Sensibility what I can’t do for myself, and that is to post every day. Let’s see how that goes. (I have been preparing, so watch out world!) Todd is going on what sounds like an amazing retreat at St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, MN, a place that I dream of visiting. Anyway, I will cross post whatever I publish at Catholic Sensibility, so stay tuned.

That’s all the news from here for now, more to follow! Thanks for reading. Why don’t you use the comments to tell us about what you’ve been up to? Stats tell me that a lot of you are out there reading, so if you want to speak up, I would love to hear from you!

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2 Responses

  1. This sounds like a wonderful place, a wonderful workshop and a great book. You have me very interested, Fran. Thank you!

  2. Thank you for this informative post. We, in the Church, need to be where the people are and now that place is being redefined as social media.

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