I spend most of my time working on evangelization. I use media as much as possible and try hard to be creative and relevant. As a director of faith formation my major responsibility is to provide appropriate formation for the children, youth, and adults of the parish. I am the parish webmistress and put out an electronic newsletter. My Facebook page is another vehicle for evangelization as is Pinterest. All of this is done to communicate the Good News to as many people as possible.
In November of 2012 CARA gave a report to the United States Bishops on “Catholic New Media Use in the United States.” I have not read through the entire report but the summary is very interesting. It reminded me that we need to reach out to those not in the pews. It also points out the limitations of the internet in bringing people to the Church.
For example, we regularly receive mail from various non-denominational Christian churches near our home. At Christmas and Easter the mail easily doubles. Have you ever gotten this sort of mail or promo piece from a Catholic Church while not a member? I have not. We live near four Catholic Churches and could easily attend any them without much added drive time. What do Catholic Churches typically send to parishioners to encourage them to come to Mass? Envelopes. At Christmas and Easter a schedule and letter is often included. Is this the best way to invite people to participate?
The internet does not pull people in unless they are specifically searching for a topic. So while I truly enjoy using the internet and embrace all the possibilities of new media, maybe we need to go back and do some old fashioned snail mail to introduce people to what is going on and direct them to websites. I include websites in the parish bulletin. At first I thought it made no sense: if a person had the bulletin in hand would they bother to go to websites? I can tell you that I have received feedback that people do look at the sites for more information.
In order to evangelize to all people we must use every means at our disposal and not rely solely on old or new methods.
Copyright © 2013, Deanna Bartalini