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The 'E-Moment' And The Gospel

By John Bookser Feister


Real People

The E-Moment

Welcome to St. Anthony Messenger’s newest column. During the next 12 months we’re going to take a long look—in Web-sized pieces—at Web sites aimed at Catholics. We’ll consider some of the issues that the Internet is bringing to the Church.

I hope to share with you some of what we’ve learned since 1995 in developing AmericanCatholic.org and its sister sites: CatholicGreetings.org, PledgePeace.org, and, most recently, AmericanCatholicYouth.org. Along the way, we’ll examine questions that we think are most important as Catholics use the World Wide Web.

Real People

This won’t be a “techie” column. I want to go beyond the machine into the ultimate goals of the people who are operating it—both Web-site publishers and the millions who are searching the Web for useful information, inspiration and ways to connect with friends and family. The Web essentially is about people communicating with other people. And we believe that God speaks through people, events, all of creation.

Each month I’ll choose a parish site, a media site, an inspirational site and one outstanding site from any category to showcase. I welcome your suggestions. Send them to me by e-mail at: WebCatholic@franciscanmedia.org.

The E-Moment

No one can deny that the dawn of the third millennium has brought a communications revolution. One commentator called it the e-moment, a time when it’s “e-everything.” We all know that if we watch TV, listen to radio or read the paper. Pope John Paul II saw it coming more than a decade ago. In his encyclical Mission of the Redeemer he describes mass communications as the “new culture” into which the gospel must be integrated (#37).

That’s a theme to which I will return. Just as St. Paul preached the Christian message at the Areopagus in Athens, competing with philosophers, Christians today are placed side by side with every philosophy and faith in the listings of “spirituality” or “religion” at major Web indexes like Yahoo. How will we touch the minds and hearts of today’s searchers?

Web Pick

www.Vatican.va
This is the mother of all Catholic sites, started in 1995 and run by the Vatican. Here you’ll find official texts of all recent popes and councils, curia statements, Vatican radio by audio streaming, print news from Vatican Information Service, museums, art and, just recently added, meditations from saints’ writings.

CHECK OUT

PARISH
***********
www.Stclarem.org
St. Clare of Montefalco Parish in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan, shows what a parish Web site can do. It’s the bulletin, the parish directory, the school newsletter, the Mass handouts and the answering machine at the parish office all in one, with a professional look. It links to key documents from the Michigan bishops and allows visitors to submit prayer requests.

MEDIA ***********
www.Catholic.org
One of the original Catholic supersites, independent and lay-led, it is a member of the Catholic Press Association, but not officially related to any diocese or order. What it lacks in design it overcomes in abundance. Most popular here is the saints and angels page, relying heavily on the old Butler’s Lives of the Saints. There are many indexes to Catholic parishes, dioceses, etc.

GROW YOUR FAITH ***********
www.Pauline.org
What an incredible serving of high-quality, carefully edited content! The Daughters of St. Paul are selling their media here, but also are providing free, high-quality e-zines for youth, teens and adults, and online discussion forums from CatholicWeb.com.


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