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Jim Disch is the director of the Office of Radio and Television for the Archdiocese of Chicago

Monday, August 02, 2010

Jesus didn’t have a Facebook page

We produced a radio program recently in which one of the guests was Father Jay Finelli, a pastor of a parish in Tiverton, R.I.  He was talking about his iPadre podcast and how he made it even more accessible as an iPhone application.  Think about this.  He’s talking about reaching millions of people around the world with a faith-based app, and he’s talking about this on Relevant Radio 950-AM, a radio outlet that itself has an enormous coverage footprint in the Chicago area.  We produced the radio program on the same weekend when our half-hour TV program, Sanctuary, aired throughout Chicago and the suburbs on ABC-7.  And on the following day, we recorded our cable TV program, The Church, the Cardinal and YouIf you subscribe to the “Cardinal’s Network,” you probably received an email from Cardinal George that week also.

What a world we live in --- radio, television, the Internet, YouTube channels, iPhone apps and social networking sites --- far different from what existed a mere two-thousand years ago.  Jesus didn’t have a Facebook page where he could preach the value of living a life of virtue rather than a life of sin.  He couldn’t Google “miracles” if he wanted to bring the “wow factor” to one of his sermons.  And Jesus couldn’t check His Linkedin account to see if anybody’s resume qualified that person to be an apostle.  But somehow, someway, Jesus rallied the masses and built a Church here on earth that today numbers more than a billion followers.  Grass-roots organizing at its best, without all the technical marvels that surround us today.

Flash forward to the 21st century.  There are a couple of things we can do right now to capitalize on the latest technology.  First of all, let’s share our knowledge.  There are web sites, blogs, apps and more to inspire, educate and entertain Catholics.  The July 18-31 edition of the Catholic New World features a list of Catholic apps on its back page.  Maybe you have a favorite app or a Catholic web site you love to visit.  Simply respond to this blog and share the info.

Finally, you could help me out.  The Radio-TV Office is always looking for story ideas for its radio and TV programs.  I’m not talking about covering somebody’s speech, showing up at a ribbon cutting for a new archdiocesan facility, or going to the latest Catholic conference at a nearby hotel.  Nothing wrong with that stuff, but it’s kind of like preaching to the choir.  Instead, let me know about the people and organizations in our Church that are making life better for others.  These are stories we can proudly tell on radio and television --- and even post the videos to our YouTube channels (english | spanish) .  These are stories that involve Catholics doing good things for people of all faiths.  These are stories that appeal to everybody because of their human interest value.  Email your story ideas to jdisch@archchicago.org.

We have incredible communications tools literally at our fingertips.  Let’s use them wisely.

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