In the Easter 2011 edition of the Australian Catholics magazine author Fatima Measham was asked the question: What might the Church look like in 50ys time? Contained in that article is a possible future that is, for some daunting, and for others it presents cool new ways to interact with a chosen faith tradition. The virtual expression of faith Measham espouses for the coming half century illustrates where we are already and inevitably where we will be in the future when comes to connecting through the virtual world. This post will explore a few ways that people of all ages truly are participating in an interactive faith. It is through this interaction that believers can connect with others in the world, practice their faith anywhere and at any time and can celebrate the joy of their faith.
Previously the ResourceLink team has explored how social media can be used as a powerful tool to build your professional learning network. Have you considered using social media to build a fulfilling network of faith? Why not use twitter to connect with other parishes and diocese globally, believers can share perspectives on scripture, pray and invite others pray into a global prayer circle by using a #tag or follow great spiritual leaders across the globe.
Facebook is another tool being used by many believers, not only to connect with their family and friends but also with other believers. World Youth Day Madrid successfully connected with some 62,000 people worldwide, using Facebook and a variety of Web 2.0 and other social media tools. See for yourself how the team from WYDMadrid connected via facebook here.
Recently, the National Catholic Education Commission coordinated the development of a national resource to support students in schools and parishes to learn about their faith, with a focus on Eucharist in the context of the new translation of the Roman Missal. This contemporary learning resource Together at One Altar is an online extension of the adult interactive DVD Become One Body One Spirit in Christ . These interactive resources allow believes to connect with deep knowledge and understanding of their own faith tradition, ubiquitously; whenever and wherever they wish.
Technology not only allows believers to connect, it provides many with a vehicle to practice their faith on an intimate and personal level. This has been furthered with advancements in smartphones and tablet devices so that now believes can practice their faith on the go be that on crowded public transport, during their morning coffee break or in a local park. Here are some apps the team at ResourceLink are using on their devices when demonstrating contemporary technologies with others. (Click on the images below to link to the Apple app store for more information about that app.) Also many of these apps are available for Android devices.
Most would agree that being community is a core practice of the Catholic Christian faith tradition. Whilst these and many more apps provide believers with tools to help them on their faith journey, it is important to remember that coming together in person, to celebrate the Eucharist is a fundamental aspect of our faith tradition, a practice which cannot be replaced.
If you would like to learn more about different types of apps and how to get started you can do so here.
Believers worldwide are now embracing new technologies to share the joy of their faith tradition. A great example of how a community is celebrating their own works and their passion for their faith is through the rich media of film. St Pauls Church Auckland, with a long history this church celebrates its many diverse works through film in particular sharing their creations on its own YouTube channel. Brisbane Catholic Education is also using rich media in the way it delivers learning and teaching of Religion and Ethics.
In a similar way the organisers of World Youth Day Madrid celebrated officially via YouTube and blogs, Facebook updates and tweets. The official WYD Madrid YouTube Chanel helped to spread the word not only about the journey of the pilgrims but also the word of scripture. For example this contemporary retelling of the parable of the sower, featured.
It is an exciting and dynamic time in faith, one that poses some challenges but also proposes solutions and new ways forward to practise faith and evangelise. By embracing advances in technology, always looking for how it can be used to connect individuals and groups and participate in and celebrate faith, the future for believers is one in which they can truly have a diverse and rich interactive faith.