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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

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Faith Formation: Getting the Right Media to our People

Sharing a few personal thoughts…

When media products on faith topics first started appearing, there were often the questions of distribution and cost. There are very few Catholic bookstores and gift shops. Unless the catalogue came in the mail or something was offered in the back of church, people had little access to sacramental and Catholic reading materials. When I was a boy, the parish kept good Catholic books near the entryway that you could acquire with a small donation and take home. We need to make every church a place where bibles, prayer books, personal missals, catechisms, and sacramental like rosaries, religious medals, scapulars, holy cards and crucifixes are available. Plaques with the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary should adorn every Catholic home, preferably as part of a house blessing.

Audio cassettes and videotapes have given way to CDs and DVDs and these in turn are being slowly replaced by downloaded digital videos and mp3s. When Catholic media products first came into the market, it was somewhat staggering what they cost. A tape with a 15 minute video might cost thirty to forty dollars. Things are somewhat cheaper today but Protestant resources are often less expensive as our own. While real costs must be paid by someone, I think we need to give more emphasis upon the free nature of the faith. If the legal rights for certain programs and talks might be surrendered, cheap cd-r and dvd-r discs can be stocked in churches for parishioners to watch at home or listen in the car while driving the road. Mp3s can be burned to CDs or placed on flash memory for easy playback. There are already companies like Lighthouse Catholic Media (http://www.lighthousecatholicmedia.org/) which are trying to make a difference with cheaper CDs on the faith, available in bundles of 20 or 50 or 100. The Archdiocese has so many teaching avenues that we could probably end up giving CDs away. At 20 cents a CD, we could give an hour talk by the Cardinal for every parishioner to take home with the request to pass it on afterwards. Many people take an hour or more driving to or from work. Such an program would quickly bring the Church’s message to people who would otherwise be listening to questionable music or angry politicized talk-radio.

One Response

  1. Father Joe ~~ Excellent ideas for sharing spiritual materials with the faithful. I have a couple of other suggestions that might be of interest to you and your readers. I live in a city that is much smaller than the D. C. area and, yet, we have one or two Catholic radio stations. Thanks to a Christmas gift from my sibling units, I have finally moved into the 21st Century with an iPhone. I am discovering FREE apps and FREE podcasts that can be downloaded and listened to. For those busy days when classes, students, and faculty responsibilities keep me on the run, I even have the Breviary downloaded onto my phone. Ah, the wonders of modern technology!

    Father Michael

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