The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
have been working on a fantastic video series that we can use for FREE to help share the
elements of our Catholic Social Teachings.
The videos are brief (3 - 5 minutes each), beautiful and informative.
They have been posted on YouTube, so can be
easily shared via social media or used in classrooms/meetings.
Below, please find direct links to the first few videos,
and look for future videos (and additional resources) to be posted at:
Rights and Responsibilities
The Catholic tradition teaches that human dignity can be protected and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected and responsibilities are met. Therefore, every person has a fundamental right to life and a right to those things required for human decency. Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities--to one another, to our families, and to the larger society.
More on Rights and Responsibilities
Call to Family, Community, and Participation
The person is not only sacred but also social. How we organize our society -- in economics and politics, in law and policy -- directly affects human dignity and the capacity of individuals to grow in community. Marriage and the family are the central social institutions that must be supported and strengthened, not undermined. We believe people have a right and a duty to participate in society, seeking together the common good and well-being of all, especially the poor and vulnerable.
More on Call to Family, Community, and Participation
Life and Dignity of the Human Person
The Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society. This belief is the foundation of all the principles of our social teaching. In our society, human life is under direct attack from abortion and euthanasia. The value of human life is being threatened by cloning, embryonic stem cell research, and the use of the death penalty. The intentional targeting of civilians in war or terrorist attacks is always wrong. Catholic teaching also calls on us to work to avoid war. Nations must protect the right to life by finding increasingly effective ways to prevent conflicts and resolve them by peaceful means. We believe that every person is precious, that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person.
More on Life and Dignity of the Human Person
Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
A basic moral test is how our most vulnerable members are faring. In a society marred by deepening divisions between rich and poor, our tradition recalls the story of the Last Judgment (Mt 25:31-46) and instructs us to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first.
More on Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
Care for God's Creation
We show our respect for the Creator by our stewardship of creation. Care for the earth is not just an Earth Day slogan, it is a requirement of our faith. We are called to protect people and the planet, living our faith in relationship with all of Gods creation. This environmental challenge has fundamental moral and ethical dimensions that cannot be ignored.
More on Care for God's Creation
We are one human family whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. We are our brothers and sisters keepers, wherever they may be. Loving our neighbor has global dimensions in a shrinking world. At the core of the virtue of solidarity is the pursuit of justice and peace. Pope Paul VI taught that if you want peace, work for justice.1 The Gospel calls us to be peacemakers. Our love for all our sisters and brothers demands that we promote peace in a world surrounded by violence and conflict.
More on Solidarity
> The Dignity of Work and the Rights of WorkersThe economy must serve people, not the other way around. Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in Gods creation. If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be respected--the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to the organization and joining of unions, to private property, and to economic initiative.
More on Dignity of Work and Rights of Workers
Descriptions shared from http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catholic-social-teaching/seven-themes-of-catholic-social-teaching.cfm - (c) USCCB
Did you happen to see the article from the Catholic News Service a few weeks back about the "Pokémon Go" phenomenon?
You can read it at:
Now that school is back in session, perhaps the traffic will slow down a bit with the Pokémon Go games that took the world by storm in July. However, there are some gamers still working towards "catching them all." So, what is your parish doing about it?
Are any PokeStops or Gyms set up on your parish property?
(You may need to talk to a youth or young adult playing and ask them to check for you.... many of the spots were assigned by the game or by players, so you may not have realized that could be why a bunch of folks are congregating in a section of your property!)
Why not take advantage of the locations by letting visitors know that they are welcome to become part of your faith community.... or that you are willing to answer any questions they may have about the Catholic faith... or that you are willing to pray for any intentions they may have...
Deacon Randy Smith in Massillon has talked with me about his planning to incorporate Pokémon Go at St. Joseph, and I've heard of a few other parishes considering it. I'd love to hear about what you do and how it went, so be sure to comment below to share your insights and ideas!
The Diocese of Green Bay's Office of the New Evangelization created a short guide to assist parishes, for what they have called Pokevangelization. I've linked it below for your convenience.
Ready.... Set.... GO!
I have had many discussions with youth ministers and those providing outreach with young adults about using Social Media. Those conversations though have seemed to focus on either how to get started or how to work on privacy issues and the Diocesan Child Protection Policy. Today, though, I'd like to just discuss a few positive practices for generally using Facebook and/or Twitter for your ministry(ies).
1. Find out from your target population (the teens, young adults, parents or larger parish community?) which they use and like. There is no sense setting up a Twitter account if no one will follow it. So, please ask key people in your target audience. If you find they use neither, ask what they do use. Perhaps your area isn't as in to Social Media, then you can stop reading this article! Or, perhaps they are using a lesser popular platform, They can teach you how to use it! You may also find they use both. Please know it is fairly easy to link your Twitter to your Facebook page (as a "person" who accepts Friends, your tweets can post onto your Newsfeed.)
2. Select a profile or cover picture that "says" something about your ministry, parish or the Church season, and do not be afraid to change it up every so often as it shows movement on the page with a quick glance.
3. Images seem to drive social media these days, so it is good to include them.... just make sure that they are appropriate, are forwarded from a trusted group/person/entity, and that they only include youth whose parents have authorized it (via the diocesan form for Direct Contact with Minors or as specified on event permission forms.) If it is a Pulbic page, it is a good practice not to use the full names of minors. If you allow them to tag themselves, that is their decision, but you need not list them.
4. Videos are also images, so let me add that you should fully review any and all videos before you post them. Make sure the entire video (including bumper ads at the end) are consistent with Church teachings. Add a comment about why you are sharing it.
5. Post or Tweet regularly - not 100 times a day where you may annoy people, but at least a couple of times per week so that you keep in your friends/followers/likers newsfeed and notifications.
6. Do not be afraid to include catechetical moments, like forwarding Saint of the Day, readings of the day, reflections by theologians and Catholic authors, etc. Even with Twitter, you can make a brief comment then link to a site/video/page with deeper content.
7. When people comment, like or post, be sure to like or reply so that they know their presence was noticed.If someone posts something inappropriate or out of line with Catholic teaching, be sure to follow up with that person one-on-one to discuss it (and possibly why you had to remove the post/comment.)
8. If possible, have a team working on the social media or at least ask key members of your target audience to post and reply regularly so that it does not all fall to one person. And make sure that your pastor/supervisor is aware of your social media efforts, even if he/she isn't personally connected, they should be aware of this aspect of your ministry.
9. Include things that will help readers live lives of faith! That is the point, right? So just be sure not to forget that. While you may want to promote programs and services or build virtual relationships to strengthen face-to-face relationships, we are in ministry to help people see Jesus at work in their daily lives, so our social media efforts should support this!
"The revolution taking place in communications media and in information technologies represents a great and thrilling challenge; may we respond to that challenge with fresh energy and imagination as we seek to share with others the beauty of God." ~ Pope Francis, From the Vatican, 24 January 2014, the Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales.
10. I'll leave this one to you...what would be one thing YOU would add to this list? (Post in the comments below). Since we are in this together and exploring this new world for evangelization, we learn from each other and support each other.
If you are not already connected with the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry social media, please do so. You can follow on Twitter:
and on Facebook, there is an office page to "like":
and groups for Youngstown Youth Ministers, DOY-YAM for young adults, and some program specific groups. Check them out or "friend" me at:
Want to read more about the Church and Digital Evangelization? Check out these resources:
1. "Social Networks: portals of truth and faith; new spaces for evangelization."
Pope Benedict XVI, Message for World Communications Day 2013
2. Communication at the Service of an Authentic Culture of Encounter
Pope Francis, Message for World Communications Day 2014
If you are looking for guidelines and information shared at diocesan conferences and trainings, look at the office page on Technology and Ministry:
The 2015 Eagle of the Cross Awards were asked to respond to the question: What do you like about being Catholic? The responses I received were tweeted from May 1 – June 10 and linked to Facebook, so if you are connected to the OY&YAM accounts for those, these will look familiar, but perhaps reviewing them all at once will bring you increased hope for the future of our Church!
Being a Catholic allows me to freely share my relationship with God with those around me and gives me the lessons needed to further that relationship each and every day. – Christian
I like the reverence and the outreach the Catholic Church has in the community. –Vince
I like being Catholic because it gives me a sense of belonging and purpose. It has provided opportunities for me to help people. –Kayla
I like that the Church follows traditions that have been around for so many years. -- Emily
I am blessed at each Mass by receiving Jesus in the Eucharist. This is what I like about being Catholic! -- Hannah
I like the feeling of togetherness I feel as a member of the Catholic Church. -- Katie
I like being Catholic because it shapes my character in the most positive way and always gives hope. -- Nicholas
I enjoy the opportunity to be closer to God every Sunday. -- Abigail
I enjoy learning about & sharing my faith with others -- Justin
The Church has many role models, the saints & the people in my everyday life. As St.JP II said, “Do not be afraid to be Saints!” - Rachel
I like being Catholic because all Catholic beliefs on major issues are reinforced and proven by reason and science. - Patrick
I like being Catholic because of the opportunities it has to offer, through the sacraments, and the community. - Douglas
I can go to Mass anywhere and feel as though I am part of a larger community. I love that we are called to live our faith in service to others & any moment of the day I can say a prayer knowing that He hears me. – Megan
I like being Catholic because of the unity that I feel in the sacraments and in the participation of the Mass.
I like being part of an organized Church that easily organizes its diverse and wide-reaching members to accomplish great things. – Adam
I like being Catholic because I like the idea that we are a family and we all support one another. -- Leanne
Being Catholic is my strength & (it helps me) see how God is everything
everywhere all the time. – Neal
I like being Catholic because it gives me strength and supports me throughout my whole life. -- Deanna
I love my Catholic faith b/c even when you feel alone, you have God & a community of God fearing people to support & love you. – Emily
I am able to profess my Catholic faith in many ways and I am able to become closer to God through the sacraments. -- Jonathan
Bonus for those of you still reading:
"I like being Catholic cuz Cindee is Catholic" - Justin
(Although a joke at 1st, our lives should invite others to our faith, right?! SO that would actually be a great compliment from someone. Can others see Christ through me enough to want to connect to the faith community? Whew, deep question! )
What do YOU like about being Catholic?
I came across these statistics from Pew Research again, and paused to think about these two statistics:
20% of Americans "shared own faith online"
and 40% "shared faith in real-life setting
in the past week.
One would hope with the ending of the Christmas season that both of these stats would be higher (especially if you count the "Keep Christ in Christmas" memes that were posted via Facebook and Twitter!) But, now that we have begun Ordinary Time, does that mean that until Ash Wednesday, we might be quiet about our faith?
Of course, I hope not! Particularly for those of us in ministry with youth and/or young adults. If we are to facilitate faith discussions with them, we must be willing to share pieces of our faith story.
I've decided to work a bit more on this personally, as a bit of a belated New Year's Resolution. I began by posting on social media a picture from my Baptism day and commented on my daily commitment to live my Baptismal Promises.
+ How might you share your faith a bit more, both on social media and in person?
How might you encourage those with whom you serve to do the same?
Yesterday, we celebrated the Baptism of the Lord. Did you also recall stories from your own Baptism? I will admit that I do not remember mine as I was only a month old....but my godfather is still alive, so stories live on! (I don't look like I enjoyed it at the time, but I did start to appreciate it later in life and I still do my best to live those Baptismal Promises!)
I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. (The Rite of Baptism)
Baptism, in fact, is more of a washing and a purification. It's more than becoming part of a community. It is a new birth. It is a new beginning of life. In Baptism we give ourselves over to Christ - he takes us unto himself so that we no longer live for ourselves, but through Him, with Him and in Him. We live with Him and thus for others.
In Baptism we surrender ourselves, we place our lives in his hands so that we can say with St. Paul: "It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me."
Baptism implies this news: our life now belongs to Christ, no longer to ourselves. For this reason we are not alone even in death, but we are with Him who lives forever. Greeted by Christ in his love, we are free from fear and we live in and of the love of the One Who is Life.
(Monsignor Francesco Follo, Zenit)
Cindee Case, MPS
Director of the Diocese of Youngstown Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry.