National Catholic Register


Clever Catholics: A Vibrant Church, Priestville & Spiritual Bouquets

BY Matthew Warner

| Posted 8/20/10 at 12:53 PM


From now on my “Catholics in New Media” posts will be transitioning to “Clever Catholics” (if you can think of a better name…you just let me know). I think this will be a better fit for where I’d like to take my Friday post here on the Register. Each week, I find many especially clever things, big and small, that Catholics are doing that I’d love to highlight. Now I will cover as many as possible, instead of just one. And many times they are not strictly “new media” related. So “Clever Catholics” will cover any examples out there each week where Catholics are doing something innovative, thinking outside of the box, or being especially effective at carrying on the mission of the Church. We need to share and promote such ideas so that all of us can learn from them.

This next bit should go without saying, but unfortunately it doesn’t…of course, when I say “thinking outside the box” and being “innovative” I am not referring to things like liturgical dance moves, finding creative places to hide the tabernacle or any little thing that is not in total union with the Magisterium of the Church. I’m talkin’ Pope John Paul II’s New Evangelization here. And I’m talkin’ ‘bout the commitment to creative, intellectual, charitable and leadership excellence that has marked the Catholic Church in centuries past.

So let me know each week if you know of anybody in the Church doing anything especially effective or clever. We need to learn from them and share them with the rest of the Church.

Here are some clever Catholics:

A Vibrant, alive Church - I loved this suggestion from Fr. Pelletier. People from all over the world travel to Catholic cathedrals and other Catholic historical destinations every year - for fun. People are coming to the Church. Let’s impress them with not only how amazing the Church used to be, but with how vibrant, relevant and alive it is today. We need to take advantage of this sleeping opportunity. “How about a corps of young people, who volunteer from all over the world, to lead visitors around St. Peter’s Square and the Basilica?  Let people see a vibrant and alive church, with enthusiastic young people who know a thing or two about their faith and Church history?  Of course, there would be training sessions.  The tours could be in several different languages, by the young people, and used as a way of spreading the gospel to folks who are, after all, visiting a sacred place.”

What’s Working in Youth Ministry - This is a multi-part series being posted right here at the National Catholic Register featuring some great contributors in the Church. This first part of the series, by Mark Hart, gives great hope to those working with teens and offers some inspiring trends and suggestions for reaching them.

Priestville - I haven’t gotten a chance to really play this yet (it’s a Facebook game that is a spin-off of the wildly popular “Farmville” game). Let me know what you thought if you have. But it has gotten some great reviews…including one person who said, “I never thought a Facebook game would bring me back to going to weekly Mass. This one has. I look forward to playing every day and can’t wait to see what’s in store. Thank you very much.”  This is the kind of creative thinking that we as Catholics need to be doing.  We need to see where the culture is (especially if it is just a particular niche), go get them and bring them back.

Coming Home in Spanish and Encouraging Priests - now has a Spanish version of their excellent ministry, They also have another similar website for Encouraging Priests.

The Best Bouquet Ever - The Cardinal Newman Society, earlier this year, gathered up a spiritual bouquet for the Pope. It included 24k Masses Offered by Priests, 264k Holy Rosaries, 439k General Prayers, 137k Divine Mercy Chaplets, 108k Mass Intentions, 19k Novenas, 31k Days of Fasting, 44k Eucharistic Holy Hours.  That’s some bouquet!

The St. Landry Bell - In the past, when you heard the church bells ring, you knew it was time for Mass, the Angelus, prayer, etc. Now you don’t have to be within earshot. When the St. Landry Bell rings you can follow it via Twitter, Facebook, or their blog. It’s a neat way to correlate prayer across your community and the Church.

Get Out the Vote - Here’s a new youtube video somebody did to hopefully motivate Catholics to get out and vote their properly formed conscience this election season:

Please feel free to email me or Tweet me each week with any stories you find about especially clever Catholics. Have a great weekend!

Clever Catholics is a weekly series highlighting Catholics who are being especially clever or effective in faithfully living out the mission of the Church.