On Saturday I attended the Catholic New Media Conference in Boston. It was so much more than I expected. I was looking forward to a day to learn how Catholics were using new media and social media as part of their ministries. What I received was a calling to share my own faith through the channels that I use every day, from Facebook to Twitter (which I finally started using just a week earlier). On top of the calling, I gained new friendships and a connection to a group of great people that I had just viewed from a distance before. I had looked at people who did Catholic blogging or vlogging as people who were on a level much higher than I was. I was afraid that when I met them that they would look at me as a fanboy. What I found was they invited me in as another Catholic who wanted so share my faith just like the rest of them.
The day started of with a mass that was celebrated by 5 of the priests that were attending the conference. The mass itself wasn’t that special, but it hit me that all these people were there to talk about Twitter and Facebook and YouTube… and they were starting off the day by offering it up to God and by meeting Him in the Eucharist. It felt especially solemn and important.
Monsignor Paul Tighe from the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications gave a great keynote talk about how the Vatican is embracing social media to reach those outside the Church. He stressed that we should be willing to experiment and not be afraid to make mistakes. If not, we will never be out on the “digital continent” spreading the love of Christ. If you have some time, I highly recommend watching/listening to his talk.
I attended 3 sessions. Two of them were on using social media. The first one was lessons learned from Pope Francis and how he reaches so many people through twitter and the message that he sends. The second was how to reach people who have left the Church and how to show them the love of Christ. The other was on streaming video and vlogging. Father Roderick talked about his experiences with his YouTube channel. He showed us some examples of his “Pixel Priest” where he plays video games. Here is a video where he is playing Sonic the Hedgehog.
Overall the day was filled with lots of fun and many great conversations. I am glad I made many great connections and look forward to talking and collaborating with many of them in the future.