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Virtual Space, Real Religion. The Question How should modern communications technologies fit into our strategy for Adult Faith Formation at St. Clare.

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Presentation on theme: "Virtual Space, Real Religion. The Question How should modern communications technologies fit into our strategy for Adult Faith Formation at St. Clare."— Presentation transcript:

1 Virtual Space, Real Religion

2 The Question How should modern communications technologies fit into our strategy for Adult Faith Formation at St. Clare Church?

3 The Parish of St. Clare Large Large Affluent Affluent Family-oriented Family-oriented Homogeneous Homogeneous Parish school Parish school Stable Stable

4 Emphasis on Adult Faith Intentional, pervasive plan to implement GDC #59: "Catechesis for adults… must be considered the chief form of catechesis. All the other forms, which are indeed always necessary, are in some way oriented to it". Intentional, pervasive plan to implement GDC #59: "Catechesis for adults… must be considered the chief form of catechesis. All the other forms, which are indeed always necessary, are in some way oriented to it".

5 Goals of Catechesis Deeper knowledge and love of Christ and the Church Deeper knowledge and love of Christ and the Church Total commitment to Christ Total commitment to Christ Becoming a witness and proclaimer of Christ to the world Becoming a witness and proclaimer of Christ to the world GDC #80-#83

6 Tasks of Catechesis 1.Gain knowledge of the faith 2.Enable participation in liturgy 3.Moral formation 4.Learning how to pray 5.Participate in the life of the local church 6.Prepare to witness to Christ in society GDC #85-86

7 Making Meaning “Experience, assumed by faith, becomes in a certain manner, a locus for the manifestation and realization of salvation.” GDC #152 Continuing development through reestablishing equilibrium Continuing development through reestablishing equilibrium Embracing loss of meaning in order to establish new meaning may reveal God Embracing loss of meaning in order to establish new meaning may reveal God

8 Transformative Learning The goal is not to acquire information, but to know the world and be known The goal is not to acquire information, but to know the world and be known To question foundations and assumptions – ask “why?” To question foundations and assumptions – ask “why?” Emancipation from forces that are limiting, but taken for granted Emancipation from forces that are limiting, but taken for granted Toward an Adult Church, Jane Regan

9 Reflecting on Experience Extended Conversation Time Time Space Space Trust Trust Relationship of learners together Relationship of learners together

10 Social Change Our task of evangelization implies individual change is not enough Our task of evangelization implies individual change is not enough –Reflection leads to action –Action returns to reflection

11 Internet Use Today “The new normal” 73% of all American adults 73% of all American adults 86% if household income $50K-$75K 86% if household income $50K-$75K 64% of users for religious/spiritual activity 64% of users for religious/spiritual activity –Sources of information –Symbolic resources –Networking and interaction Supplement, not substitute Supplement, not substitute

12 The Church and the Internet The Internet is helping bring about revolutionary changes in commerce, education, politics, journalism, the relationship of nation to nation and culture to culture—changes not just in how people communicate but in how they understand their lives. Pontifical Council for Social Communications, 2002

13 Personal Experience NPM Listserv NPM Listserv –Time: approximately ten years –Space: –Trust: changes have been made when this was threatened –Relationships: valuing expertise but no one is “teacher”

14 Parish Experience I am a recent recipient of the thought for the day. I enjoy reading them and look forward to them everyday. I particularly enjoy the writings from Camille. I truly connect with her writings. I print her "thoughts" and I share them with my husband and other family members. The thoughts of the day keep me focused and her writings make a particularly positive effect. Thank you Camille and thank you St Clare's for such a wonderful program.

15 Challenge and Opportunity for the Church John Paul II compared the information revolution to the age of the printing press John Paul II compared the information revolution to the age of the printing press Other documents: Other documents: –Faith communities –Counseling, spiritual direction –New freedom for the faithful to communicate to the hierarchy

16 Already, the two-way interactivity of the Internet is blurring the old distinction between those who communicate and those who receive what is communi- cated, and creating a situation in which, potentially at least, everyone can do both. This is not the one-way, top-down communication of the past. As more and more people become familiar with this characteristic of the Internet in other areas of their lives, they can be expected also to look for it in regard to religion and the Church.

17 Religion On-Line Supports top-down or center-out structures Supports top-down or center-out structures Provides information Provides information Controls the experience Controls the experience Examples Examples –Vatican web site –most parish web sites

18 On-Line Religion Allows interaction and feedback Allows interaction and feedback Enables discussion Enables discussion Surrenders control Surrenders control Examples Examples –beliefnet –blogs –post-9/11 “folk” sites

19 Ten Principles for Designing Internet Applications for Adult Faith Formation

20 1.Draw people to the local faith community Hospitality Hospitality Don’t imply the internet replaces church Don’t imply the internet replaces church “There are no sacraments on the internet” “There are no sacraments on the internet” Local solutions Local solutions

21 2.Make a space for reflection A place for their own words A place for their own words Experiences to reflect on — scripture, liturgy, social action, life events Experiences to reflect on — scripture, liturgy, social action, life events Permission to be open, honest and true to themselves Permission to be open, honest and true to themselves Protection Protection

22 3.Make space for conversation Let people respond and react to each other Let people respond and react to each other Allow questioning — even of authority! Allow questioning — even of authority! Protect the conversation Protect the conversation

23 4.Make time for conversation Days, weeks, months Days, weeks, months Respect time commitments and schedules Respect time commitments and schedules Provide contemplative environment Provide contemplative environment –Graphical –Pace –Complexity

24 5.Build Trust Is privacy required? Is privacy required? –Anonymity –Restricted access Internet security Internet security Ethical behavior from technical support Ethical behavior from technical support

25 6.Give up control Let the conversation flow Let the conversation flow Allow users to decide what to do Allow users to decide what to do This is hard for the institution! This is hard for the institution!

26 7.Include social change Publicity and encouragement for service Publicity and encouragement for service Sharing responses after a project Sharing responses after a project Challenging groups to action Challenging groups to action

27 8.Provide for diverse spiritualities Different levels of spiritual growth Different levels of spiritual growth Different stages of life Different stages of life Different needs and approaches Different needs and approaches Different cultures Different cultures Consider the “New Evangelization” Consider the “New Evangelization”

28 9.Recognize triggering events What draws people to the parish? What draws people to the parish? –Individual crises –Rhythms of parish and family life –Local, national, world events Make it easy to connect Make it easy to connect React on time React on time

29 10.Encourage relationships Web site examples Web site examples –Tech support – experts & questioners –Cruising Information gathering threads Information gathering threads “Roll Call” threads “Roll Call” threads The possibility of meeting in person The possibility of meeting in person A community of equals A community of equals

30 Some Examples

31 Thought for the Day Faith Sharing that fits life Reflection on scripture Web site Telephone

32 Describes purpose and structure of Prayer of the Faithful Describes purpose and structure of Prayer of the Faithful Link to current week prayer Link to current week prayer Option for suggesting intercessions for coming week Option for suggesting intercessions for coming week On-line Prayer Requests

33 Committee Minutes on Web

34 Companions OnLine

35 Where next? Evaluation of our current web portfolio against the 10 principles Evaluation of our current web portfolio against the 10 principles Identify where shortfalls exist Identify where shortfalls exist Look for examples Look for examples Develop proposals for new round of Adult Faith Formation proposals Develop proposals for new round of Adult Faith Formation proposals

36 Why? The Church would feel herself guilty before God if she did not avail of those powerful instruments which human skill is constantly developing and perfecting... In them she finds in a new and more effective forum a platform or pulpit from which she can address the multitudes. GDC #160

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