On Saturday June 27th the New Catholic Media Celebration was held in San Antonio, TX. According to the Star Quest Production Network website, "it is a day to Learn, Share, and Explore how New Media can help the Catholic Church in the New Evangelization called for by Pope John Paul II." I was not physically there but I was able to follow along by Twitter. The whole program was also streamed live so players at home could watch speakers such as Patrick Madrid, Danielle Bean or Fr. Roderick speak. There were breakout sessions covering topics from blogs to podcasts, from social networking sites to music. According to the Tweets I received people who were there, it seems as if there was a lot of time eating at restaurants on the River Walk.
It's amazing to me how many ways there are to evangelize in today's world. There are so many ways for people to learn about their faith today. The laity (those who are not priests, brothers or sisters) have so many places to go to learn the truths of their faith in ways that are easy and appealing to them. People are able to find information by using simple keystrokes or listening to teachings on their iPod during their morning run. We should be reminded to be careful where we are getting our information though. We should never take the information for granted and we need to go to the source to verify. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (that handy dandy green book) and of course the Bible itself are the sources we need to rely on the most. Of course they can be found on line too at http://www.usccb.org/catechism/text/ and http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/.
One other thing that I have found amazing is how MANY people are out there evangelizing. A look at the Catholic New Media Awards website and you get a sampling of how many blogs there are. There are so many people like me who are willing to spend time to help spread the Word of God in the blogosphere. I think this is a result of Vatican II when the Church said that more is expected of the laity than to sit back in the pews and listen. We are all called to be saints and we are all called to spread the Gospel. This is not new teaching and we do not have to use technology to do this. St. Francis of Assisi said way back in the 13th century, "Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words." The best way for us to evangelize isn't by blogs or podcasts, although they are fantastic means, but just by being the Christian we are called to be. We evangelize by being loving and joyous people. We spread the light of Christ by allowing people to see Christ in us.
Two examples of people allowing the Spirit to work through them are SS. Peter and Paul, who we celebrate today. I'm able to blog from the comfort of my nice air conditioned home and I worry about what people will think of me if I try to convey my faith to them. These two show us what it really means to be passionate in their faith. They were thrown in jail, stoned and persecuted. In the end, they were both martyrs for their faith. Peter was crucified upside down and Paul was beheaded.
I think that we need to pray that we are able to use Ss. Peter and Paul for examples on how to be good evangelists and that we ask God that we, like Paul, compete well, finish the race and that keep the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7)