The ever-growing popularity and influence of new communication technologies, such as social networks, presents challenging yet interesting opportunities to share the Gospel of Christ and his redeeming love. These opportunities are especially open to young people who engage in the digital age so masterfully.
Pope Benedict XVI, in his 45th World Communication Day message, recognized the natural ability of young people, who are “open with enthusiasm and curiosity to new experiences in life,” to communicate and to establish authentic friendships through new media outlets. He calls them to “make good use of their presence in the digital world” by placing it “at the service of the integral good of the individual and of the whole of humanity” and by bearing witness to their “most profound convictions.” The Holy Father contends that by doing so the youth will “greatly help prevent the web from becoming an instrument which depersonalizes people.”
Young Catholics are taking this message to heart. One example can be seen in the recent success of a grassroots digital campaign, sponsored by three New York dioceses, to promote participation in the Sacrament of Reconciliation through a video contest opened to Catholic students. Youth from all over the United States entered the contest, and 161 entries were posted on a YouTube playlist for viewing.
One of the entries, “Be Reconciled to God,” was created by high school students Molly and Caleb Herboth. The one minute time limit for the contest did not prevent these students from presenting a powerful, yet orthodox message. The video incorporates the qualities of a good confession (examination of conscience, contrition, confession, and penance), and features a scripture verse, a quote from 7th century St. Isidore, and the Sanctus. The most touching element of this short video is the reflection on the internal conflict between doubt and desire to accept the merciful forgiveness of God. Through this contest, these students are answering the Holy Father's call to be a witness to their innermost convictions. When asked why he entered the contest, Caleb said he wanted “to spread the mercy of God to the whole world.” He continued, “I’m hoping the videos will inspire people to go to confession so they can go to heaven at the end of their life.” What better use of the communication technology is there than that?
Join the new media evangelization. Your tax-deductible gift allows Catholic.net to build a culture of life in our nation and throughout the world. Please help us promote the Church's new evangelization by donating to Catholic.net right now. God bless you for your generosity.