Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Some New Dimensions in an Old Ministry--Using the Internet to proclaim the Word
In November of 1987 I worked on my first parish mission with Fr. Rod Petrie, OFM and Fr. Brennan Connolly, OFM. Brennan has gone home to the Lord and Rod is still going strong at close to 85 yrs old. Since then I have preached over 400 parish missions all over the US and in parts of Canada as well. It has been an exciting and rewarding time.
What is truly amazing to me is the fact that the good Lord has opened new doors for me in this wonderful ministry doors to possibilities that I never even dreamed of back in 1987. A chain reaction of events began four years ago and the chain is still growing.
Back in 2009 a friar suggested that I start a blog. It was well received and I have been using it ever since as a tool for preaching the Word. Shortly after beginning this endeavor I took the plunge and signed on to Facebook. I had shyed away from this social media site because I had heard some of the horror stories related to its misuse. I soon learned, however, that Facebook was a nice complement to this blog. I could let people know where I was serving at different times and create links to articles and talks that I found helpful, not to mention letting my Facebook friends (393 of them now) know of this blog. Many of them in turn have shared the blog with their friends and the message goes out far and wide. I also keep up with family and with news of what many of the friars in my province are doing.
Twitter, at first, seemd trivial and silly. I had heard of all the crazy "Tweets" from athletes and movie stars and figured that this outlet was not for me. Just before Lent of 2012, however, a priest friend suggested that I take another look at Twitter. He told me that the key was sticking to one type of message and not straying away from that. He said that if I put out only religious messages that I would build up a following of people also interested in that type of message. I jumped on board Twitter and Tweeted every day of Lent, 2012, on the readings of the day. I rapidly built up a following and have received wonderful messages from those followers which now number just under 2500. When many of them "retweet" my messages to their followers the whole thing multiplies. I repeated the Lenten "Tweets" in 2013 and apart from Lent put something on their once or twice a week.
What has happened is that the blog, Facebook and Twitter weave together to be an internet ministry which reaches thousands and which enriches me in return.
In the midst of all of this it was suggested to me that "The Wandering Friar" could be a book title. Most of you know that the book has been out for several months and has been well-received on the missions I have preached as well as in the parishes in Wisconsin where I served in the summer. I was recently invited to give an interview on the book on CatholicTV in Boston. This channel airs in Boston, Detroit, St. Louis and sever other cities on regular broadcast outlets. It is also able to be seen everywhere on CatholicTV.com. On October 15, the Feast of St. Theresa of Avila, I celebrated Mass on that channel and gave the interview on a program called "Start the Day". The links below will give you the interview as well as the homily from the Mass.
CatholicTV Book Interview
Mass Homily, Feast of St. Theresa, October 15
The latest outflow from all of this is that the folks at "Tekton Ministries" of Indiana discovered my blog and read the book as well. This led to an invitation to lead a pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi which I will be doing on October 6-16, 2014. Details will follow soon.