Diocese offers online resources for Year of Faith
By MICHELLE DELANEY, Globe staff reporter
The first resource people often turn to when trying to gather information is the internet. It seems like everywhere people go they are not far from an internet connection. Most cell phones, laptops, kindles and iPods can connect to the internet at a moment’s notice.
With people’s ever-growing dependence on the internet, it only makes sense that the church stay’s current with this trend. Pope Benedict XVI urged people to communicate the teachings of the church on the “digital continent.” He expressed that he wants the church to use social networking and electronic communication as a means of evangelization.
With the pope’s mission in mind, the Sioux City Diocese has been hard at work creating a Facebook page and a website for the Year of Faith, which began on Oct. 11 and will go through Nov. 24, 2013.
“In the world that we live in, we consume most of our information from the internet. So, it’s really important, as a church, that we have a presence online,” said Karmen Bower, assistant director of youth catechesis and evangelization.
She went on to say that the Year of Faith gives them a special opportunity to focus on the “digital continent.” While the Year of Faith is something that parishes and people can integrate into their own lives, having a website with extra resources is important and exciting.
Bower described the Year of Faith website as a hub of information on the Year of Faith. It will include information, links to credible websites, activities, BSible study lists, resources for teachers, a section for teenagers, videos, pictures and much more.
“It’s almost going to be a repository of different activities going on in the diocese as well as resources for evangelization and catechesis towards the Year of Faith,” said Justin Frato, assistant director of adult catechesis and family life. “We’re going to have different video links, different things related to faith and catechesis. It’s going to be more interactive and engaging for people.”
Bower noted that the entire department of formation and ministry has been working on assembling resources for the website. Because of this, it will contain material for evangelization, youth and adult catechesis, worship, education and much more.
As of right now, the website can be found on the Sioux City Diocese website under the Year of Faith tab. Currently, they are in the works of creating a separate website for it and hope to launch it in November.
“We want to provide so much information that it’s just easier to have it on a separate website so people don’t have to dig and dig for information. Basically, having a whole website dedicated to the Year of Faith makes it more accessible,” said Bower.
In addition to the Year of Faith resources made available on the site, there will also be information on upcoming diocesan events on the page. The site contains detailed information about the five million rosaries campaign the diocese is hosting, it will have fliers for the holy hours that will be hosted across the diocese six times during the Year of Faith, and will give up-to-date information on other Year of Faith activities held throughout the year.
Another interesting aspect about the website is people will have the ability to communicate and share resources. Bower explained that they are hoping teachers will use the site to upload and share any Year of Faith lesson plans that they create for both school and religious education.
The site is designed to have information for people of all ages.
“We would really be remiss if we failed to reach out to a whole segment of people that might not otherwise be touched by using this new form of media,” said Frato. “That’s partly what the new evangelization is about, taking the ancient truths and delivering it in new ways to people who have gotten dry in their faith and are in need of reinvigoration.”
The site will also link to credible Catholic websites such as the Vatican and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Year of Faith resources. Frato explained, since online sites aren’t always accurate, they wanted to link to pages in which people are assured the content is fully Catholic and will lead them in the right direction.
The diocese’s Year of Faith Facebook page is another way in which people can stay current with the happenings throughout the year.
“I think the Facebook page is important because we need to meet people where they’re at,” said Frato. “Facebook moves beyond email and engages people where they’re hanging out socially.”
To check out the Year of Faith site, visit www.scdiocese.org/yearoffaith. The Facebook page can be found at www.facebook.com/YearOfFaithDioceseOfSiouxCity.
The sites have been made with the parishes and people of the diocese in mind.
“I like it because it’s so easy and accessible,” said Bower. “It’s hard for people to sometimes attend lectures and workshops because of scheduling. This site offers an alternative to that and is available to everyone whenever they need it.”
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