In this new series titled Technology and Catechesis, we will explore the breadth of possibilities before us as catechists armed with new advances in media technology. This first article will explore the potential before us, while subsequent articles will address more practical applications with rich examples.
As I was listening to Catholic radio during this morning’s commute to the office, a popular radio show host mentioned how if St. Paul were alive today, he would be using television studios and radio towers in lieu of pen and papyrus. “How very true,” I thought to myself as I pondered the possibilities we have before us and how well I am availing myself of those prospects in my own ministry.
We must ask ourselves, “Is the Gospel being communicated through these various forms of media?” Not only do we need to be producing and using quality media that will contend with its secular counterparts, but we also need to realize that all of this media consumption affects our students. Today, a black and white overhead projector screams: “Ancient!”, whereas a digital video projector raises eyebrows. When we point our pupils to an elegantly designed Catholic website, show an entertaining and solidly catechetical DVD, or run a PowerPoint presentation with embedded video clips, we send the message that the Gospel is relevant and ever-fresh. In a sense, we become “all things to all men” so that we “might by all means save some” (1 Cor. 9:22).
Technology is able to enhance and bring efficiency to our catechetical endeavors in ways apart from the art of presentation. Spreadsheets, portable notebooks, databases, word processing software, PDF documents, local area networks, and wireless Internet access are all technological advancements that can aid us. These powerful electronic tools give speed to the spread of the Gospel. The Roman empire’s road system gave St. Paul an efficient means to communicate with a distant audience in his many epistles. In like manner today, the Internet highway speeds along our bishops’ e-pistles to instruct and guide the flock of Christ.