|St. Joseph the Worker Parish|
It was back on December 4, 1963, that Pope Paul VI issued the Decree on Social Communications titled, Inter Mirifica. Here's part of the prophetic message to both priests and the faithful: "All the children of the Church should join, without delay and with the greatest effort in a common work to make effective use of the media of social communication in various apostolic endeavors, as circumstances and conditions demand. They should anticipate harmful developments, especially in regions where more urgent efforts to advance morality and religion are needed."
The Holy Father goes on to say, "Pastors should hasten, therefore, to fulfill their duty in this respect, one which is intimately linked with their ordinary preaching responsibility. The laity, too, who have something to do with the use of these media, should endeavor to bear witness to Christ, first of all by carrying out their individual duties or office expertly and with an apostolic spirit, and, further, by being of direct help in the pastoral activity of the Church-to the best of their ability-through their technical, economic, cultural and artistic talents." (13)
The Pope was writing at a time when there was no Internet, Facebook, You Tube, Twitter, Smart phones, Twitter, the iPad and so much more. Pope Paul VI was mainly referring to radio, film, newspapers, magazines and television. However, the point to use media to evangelize is clear. Let's fast forward 42 years. In his Apostolic Letter, The Rapid Development, Pope John Paul II in 2005 encourages the faithful to utilize the media with these words, "Do not be afraid of new technologies! These rank “among the marvelous things” – inter mirifica – which God has placed at our disposal to discover, to use and to make known the truth, also the truth about our dignity and about our destiny as his children, heirs of his eternal Kingdom." Even Pope Benedict XVI has boldly invited priests and the laity to use the new media technologies like the Internet to spread the Gospel and to build the Common Good. As a result, we now have a Canadian site started by Colin Kerr, and it's dedicated to building a community of Catholic bloggers; it's called, The Society of Canadian Catholic Bloggers.
St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Vaughan, Ontario has also taken these papal pastoral media messages to heart. Please watch the You Tube video as the pastor, Fr. Mario Salvadori introduces a young man Vlad who speaks to parishioners on the importance of using the social media to evangelize. The presentation/homily/talk does take thirty minutes, but the information and the inspiration you will get from it is well worth the time. Just imagine the fruits of this media project, especially with the youth of any parish, if this social media strategy were adopted by the Archdiocese of Toronto, or any diocese in the world, as a pastoral project for the up-coming Year of Faith or at any time. Everyday for Life Canada welcomes your views and comments. Here's the link to the video: