Saint Joseph Catholic in Florida Partners with Notre Dame

A read a really refreshing story today about a Catholic school in Florida that, in my opinion, is setting a model for many more Catholic schools to follow. Saint Joseph Catholic School in West Tampa Bay has partnered with the University of Notre Dame and the Diocese of Saint Petersburg in the Notre Dame ACE Academies. The goal of the program is to make Catholic schools and their communities stronger. This is important because Catholic school enrollment has been dwindling in recent years, mostly because these schools simply have fewer resources than public schools.

To learn more about what this school is doing to make strives educationally check out the post “Catholic School Reform Takes Root in Florida”.

Growing the Catholic Presence on Social Media Sites

I was recently brought to realization that there is a glaring lack of Catholic presence on social media sites. Too much of the stuff seen on social media every day is negative and evil. Whether it be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or whatever else people are using today there is an alarming amount of negativity. I feel as though it stems from the anonymity the internet creates. You can leave a hate filled comment on a Youtube video and nobody will ever know it was you, or you can tweet mean things at Pope Benedict’s new Twitter account and get away with it. I guess some people get a kick out of saying hurtful things online.

Anyway, what brought my attention to this issue was a positive story concerning social media. I was pleasantly surprised to read about a teenager named Dylana Smith who has taken it upon herself to promote the New Evangelization for the Year of Faith. Pope Benedict XVI called for Catholics to spread the New Evangelization in any way they could this year, and Dylana is using social media to do that. To get more specific she has been using Instagram to create a Catholic presence on the popular app. Dylana noticed a lack of Catholic presence on the app, and figured a good way to celebrate the Year of Faith would be to make a personal mission to create one. I am delighted to see such a young person trying hard to make a difference.

Much like Dylana I was also alerted that groups of Catholic bloggers have been uploading Advent photos of the day. These Catholics are using Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets to share their Advent photos each day. They also include a short Advent thought with their photos. This is a wonderful way to celebrate a season that often times goes overlooked by many people.

I was thrilled to see these efforts to make a bigger and better Catholic presence on social media. All of this news came the same week as Pope Benedict’s Twitter account was activated. I can’t wait to see what his tweets will be like next week!

How are you trying to help grow the Catholic presence on social media sites?

The “Pope App”: There is an App for Everything These Days

There really is an app for everything. Today I found out about the new “Pope App”. This app lets users see live streaming papal events and video feeds webcams around the Vatican. On top of those functions the app will also alert its users of new stories, news, and other interesting information about the Pope. This is part of an effort to document the ongoing Year of Faith in the best way possible. All of the bishops conference in the next year are being asked to document any materials involved with the celebration of the Year of Faith so that they can make an e-Book out of it all. The “Pope App” should be out sometime next week for the iPhone and iPad.

To learn more about this click here: Papal Events, Vatican Webcam Feeds Streamed Live with New “Pope App”

Was Joining Twitter a Good Idea for Pope Benedict XVI?

There has been a lot of controversy over the Pope’s new Twitter account. There seems to be two sides to this issue. One side is excited for the Pope’s tweets and can’t wait to see what they will be like. I thought I was completely on board with this side of the issue, however the other side makes a decent point. The other side thinks it is unnecessary for Pope Benedict XVI to have a Twitter account. Some of them feel this way because of the obscene and hate filled tweets that some people have been sending at the Pope’s account already. I never thought that people would tweet mean things at the Pope, but I suppose I didn’t think too much about it. If I had I would have known to expect it. The positive side is, even if these negative people are going to tweet bad things at the Pope they are still following him. Meaning even the worst people amongst us are still receiving the messages the Pope sends out.

Fr. Z recently weighed in on the topic over on his blog. The post was called “Are Christ’s mission and Holy Church well-served by ‘me-tooism’?” and gave Fr. Z’s interesting opinion on the matter.

Do you think it was a good idea for Pope Benedict XVI to start a Twitter account?

Pope Benedict XVI Twitter Handle Announced: Tweets to Follow

Today marks the beginning of Pope Benedict’s existence in the Twitter world. Pope Benedict XVI’s Twitter handle has been announced this morning (@Pontifex) and also news that he will tweet for the first time next week. The date that was announced is December 12, and apparently these tweets will be in a Q and A format. I know that I am thoroughly excited to see what the Pope will tweet about. It is very crazy that social media has become so embedded into our every day lives.

Read more about this story here: Pope Benedict XVI Launches Twitter Account

Saint Pedro Calungsod: The Second Filipino Saint

Pope Benedict XVI recently canonized Pedro Calungsod. Today many Roman Catholic Filipinos gathered in Cebu City to celebrate this canonization and the new statue built in his honor. Pedro Calungsod is the second ever saint to come from the Philippines. He was a martyr in the 17th century who died as a teen. Pedro joined Spanish Jesuit missionaries to Guam in 1668 on a mission to convert the native people, however they resisted and his life was lost.

To hear more about this story click here: Saint Pedro Calungsod

Church Receives Thanks of U2’s Bono for Efforts in Debt Forgiveness

The famous U2 front man Bono recently thanked the Catholic Church for their involvement in the Drop the Debt campaign. The campaign allowed some of the world’s poorest countries to be free of financial obligations to other nations. These countries may have been able to pay for the debt eventually, but it would have crippled things like their education and health programs. I thought it was pretty cool to see a celebrity like Bono thank the Church.

To learn more about this story for the link: Bono Thanks Vatican for Helping with Debt Forgiveness

Christians of All Sorts to Gather in Europe

I found this post over at Christian Today this morning and thought it was really cool.

“Hope will launch in its new form as part of Europe’s largest gathering of Christians, an all-night prayer and praise event hosted by the Redeemed Christian Church of God which expects more than 25,000 people to attend.

Hosted by Pastor Agu Irukwu of Jesus House, the Hope launch will be part of the Festival of Life on 23 July at the ExCel Centre in London.

The General Overseer, Pastor EA Adeboye is also keen to pray over and commission Hope. The event signifies a move towards a wider involvement in Hope from across church denominations and cultural divides and will strengthen partnerships with the black majority church.

Pastor Agu Irukwu said: “Hope is one of the tributaries that will flow into this river of revival. There is a feeling that God is in this and that it is actually larger than we all think. There is a real desire to do something – working together, black and white majority churches, urban based missions and missions that are out in the country.”” – “Hope to launch at Europe’s largest gathering of Christians”

25,000 people all meeting up to spend the night at an overnight prayer function? Wow, looks like there is hope for the world after all. This is really a great thing to see, especially with the endless reports of dwindling faith that are constantly being brought to my attention. These are all Christians too, meaning that everybody who falls under the title of being Christian is welcome to attend. By the sounds of it there will be quite a mixture of faiths too, which is a great thing!