Seminarians March for Life

 

Seminarian Brady Keller

St. Paul Seminary first-year theology students are in Washington, D.C.,  for the annual national March for Life. St. Cloud seminarian Brady Keller, from St. Gall Parish in Tintah, will provide regular blog updates leading up to the march on Friday, Jan. 27.

 

 

Today ( Jan. 27) was the day for which we came to D.C.  We took part in the March for Life rally at Washington Monument where hundreds of thousands of people young and old gathered for fellowship, music and speakers.  It was great to see so many people united in the fight to protect life.

Pro-life speakers included presidential advisor Kellyanne Conway, Vice President Mike Pence, Baltimore Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson and Timothy Cardinal Dolan, among many others.

After the rally, we all marched to the Supreme Court building.  The street was packed with people as far as the eye could see. There was much hope and gratitude in everyone that the pro-life movement is in fact winning back the culture. We are being heard and changes are being made to protect the unborn. In was a powerful experience. Please continue to pray that laws may continue to be passed and hearts continue to be changed to protect the lives of babies in the womb.

In prayer,
Brady Keller

Opening Mass for March for Life

Seminarian Brady Keller

St. Paul Seminary first-year theology students are in Washington, D.C.,  for the annual national March for Life. St. Cloud seminarian Brady Keller, from St. Gall Parish in Tintah, will provide regular blog updates leading up to the march on Friday, Jan. 27.

 

 

National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

Today [Jan. 26] we spent the day at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.  We were able to look around this beautiful church built for the greater glory of God.  There are 70 side altars dedicated to various saints and titles of our Blessed Mother and Jesus.  We sat in choir for the opening Mass for the March for Life.  Timothy Cardinal Dolan was the celebrant and homilist.  His message emphasized the womb as a sanctuary where babies must be protected and not killed.  Tomorrow we head out to the March for Life.  God bless.

Seminarians visit nation’s Capitol for annual March for Life

 

Seminarian Brady Keller

St. Paul Seminary first-year theology students are in Washington, D.C.,  for the annual national March for Life. St. Cloud seminarian Brady Keller, from St. Gall Parish in Tintah, will provide regular blog updates leading up to the march on Friday, Jan. 27.

 

 

 

Seminarians Tom Skaja and Patrick Hoeft having fun in Washington.

 

“Today [Jan. 25] we had the day for sightseeing. We visited the Washington Memorial, White House, National Holocaust Museum, National Museum of American History and Arlington Cemetery.  There’s so much history to learn.  The Holocaust Museum was very powerful.

 

 

 

Seminarians visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Jan. 25 in Washington, D.C.

“The changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was very inspiring. The respect and reverence shown by the soldiers for the unknown soldiers reminded me of the reverence we owe to God.” –Brady Keller

 

Year End Awakening

My daughter has a framed print hanging in her room that has the line from J.R.R Tolkien on it:

“Not all who wander are lost.”

Looking in the rear view of the last year, that one resonates with me. It kind of felt like a wandering year and if I had to pinpoint one reason or event, I really couldn’t. Sure, I spent a good portion of it in the throes of my fifth child’s first year with all of the familiar milestones. It shook things up a little, but it didn’t take a whole lot of adjustment. The year was filled with many happy times and memories, while sprinkled with some bumps of inconvenience and less than comfortable “unsettlings.”

As I ambled along, complacency took over and it spilled over into my faith life. I wrestled with a place of peace that I just couldn’t quite grasp and a decision I just wasn’t quite ready to make for most of the year.

Weary and ready for changes, I kept the door open to divine help even when the answers were quiet, and I kept asking myself the same questions. Somewhere in those last months as I bustled my kids around to activities, God saw to it to bring to fruition some new relationships and words of encouragement and support my soul needed. The face of Christ was evident and a balm to soothe the weariness.

With the Advent season and new year nearly on the horizon, fresh air was about to breathe new spiritual life. I was excited to be a part of a group of women around the globe who would be sharing Advent praying and reflecting together daily through a Catholic women’s Advent journal. As I set aside time every day to read the daily scripture readings, pray, and reflect using the Advent journal, new light began to shine. The part of me that needed so desperately a rekindling of my spiritual fire began to warm again. In those quiet morning moments He showed me small corners of life that of which He longed to be a part. He refreshed in me the promise of His love and delight in me despite all the imperfections and human side of me I lay before Him.

While I knew my roaming last year was never alone, it often felt that way. My faith, albeit sometimes just mustard seed sized, told me that God was in each of those moments and circumstances. I knew that our relationship would grow despite the desert-like feeling and aimless wandering I seemed to be doing. Sometimes these days, weeks and months of searching feel as though there is no benefit along the journey, but I have to trust that God is doing a great and marvelous work. I just can’t see it yet.

Some seasons, whether liturgical or life seasons, have a way of stirring within us something deeper and more meaningful in order to redirect us. They have a way of stretching and molding us in unexpected ways. A couple of years ago our parish priest said nearly the same thing just before Lent. He asked us to be open to ways God wanted to stretch us during that Lenten season, as a parish and personally. I cannot recount the times that those words from that homily echoed in my head over those next months. I was pregnant at the time and the pregnancy stretched me not just physically, but every other way imaginable. I chuckle about it now, but at the time I gave our pastor plenty of grief about that homily because that God’s stretching thing was really, really difficult.

With what turned out to be quite possibly my best Advent ever now behind me, I look forward to embracing the new year. If I end up being led to trek off the beaten path a bit, I know I will not be lost. After all, the Israelites wandered the desert for forty years and they were God’s chosen people. All their wandering ended up in the Promised Land.  I hope mine does too.

**Note: If you are looking for a place to gather with other prayerful women and the group I referred to above, you can find more information at https://blessedisshe.net.

Sarah Heidelberger is a wife and homeschooling mom of five who keeps her days steady with her planning and organizing skills. Read more about her on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.

Sharing God’s goodness

From January 2-8,  I was blessed to attend the SEEK 2017 conference in San Antonio, Texas. I am a member at St. Michael Parish in St. Cloud, but now attend school at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Between UMD and St. Scholastica, we were able to take 95 students to the conference this year.

Featured speaker Mark Hart, vice president of Life Team, tries to inspire an audience of young adults Jan. 3 during the biennial SEEK conference at San Antonio’s Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. The event was designed to bring evangelization efforts to college campuses. (CNS photo/courtesy FOCUS)

Throughout the week, we were given the opportunity to attend sessions from powerful speakers such as Jason and Crystalina Evert, Leah Darrow, Sarah Swafford, Mark Hart, John O’Leary and many more. Sessions touched on nearly every topic one could desire; Jesus’ Invitation to Greatness, Consecration to Jesus through Mary, men’s and women’s talks, relativism, bioethics, abortion, relationships, prayer, you name it!

Each morning began with the nearly 13,000 college students attending Mass and prayer with exposition. Passionate hearts sang at least two opening songs to allow time for all the 300 priests to enter mass each day. It was so incredible to witness so many youth on fire for their faith and to see all the priests that were able to attend Mass with us. Over the course of the week, students from around the country formed friendships and shared in their joy for Jesus Christ. We were able to attend an 80’s themed dance, a concert performed by “The Oh Hellos,” browsed through informational booths, roamed the streets of the gorgeous San Antonio city, and could talk to many sisters, friars and priests.

The most compelling part of the entire conference was most definitely adoration and confession on Thursday night. Hearts cried out in the presence of Jesus and lives were transformed. Lines weaved all the way around the convention center for confession. Many times throughout the night, the emcees announced that students had to refrain from entering the confession line because it was a fire hazard due to the length of the lines! Over 4,000 confessions were heard that night alone (and many more throughout the retreat).  The atmosphere filled with the Holy Spirit was remarkable.

One thing really touched me during this time. I was in line for confession when I noticed on the jumbo screens that the priests had been walking around the conference room with the monstrance so that each person would get to witness the presence of God up close. Noticing I had at least a 30-minute line still ahead of me for confession, I was a little bummed that I wouldn’t be in the main room while the monstrance was being carried around each section of people. However, I found peace in being able to see it on the large screen. Being Catholic and having the opportunity to attend confession I have learned is such a blessing and one that I am so grateful for; doing it with over 300 brothers and sisters in Christ at the same moment was even more life changing.

Young adults pray during a Mass during the Jan. 3-7 biennial SEEK conference at San Antonio’s Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. The event was designed to bring evangelization efforts to college campuses. (CNS photo/courtesy FOCUS)

After walking out of confession and into the larger adoration room, I saw Jesus, in the monstrance, was coming right around the corner where I was! I had been so worried about missing this part of adoration, but now I realized I wouldn’t be missing Jesus up close at all! At the same time, the lyrics of the song being sung were “ ‘Cause You know just what we need before we say a word.” This was such an impactful moment for me. The Lord truly knows just what we need and will provide. As they rounded the corner with Jesus in the monstrance, hands were stretched out wide by many and, hundreds following in line behind to follow Jesus on his journey around the convention center room.

Another major thing that Jesus told me over the weekend was how important it is to simply extend an invitation to those around us, Catholic or not, in coming to know the Lord and the Catholic faith.  Many people shared their testimonies in the talks and around Texas in casual conversation about how they attended SEEK, some Catholic speaker at their parish, or even Mass only because they had a friend who invited them and encouraged them to go.  For each and every single one of those people, that invitation changed their lives, and now us 13,000 attendees are thrilled to go out and share God’s goodness with those back home.

Amanda Vasek is a young adult from St. Michael Parish in St. Cloud and is currently a sophomore at University of Minnesota, Duluth. When she isn’t studying or attending events with Newman Center, she is enjoying the outdoors, catching a sporting event, or eating ice cream!

Why so loud?!

Picture this: the entire United States (including Alaska) stacked 7-feet high with thick paperback books. Sounds like our college reading assignments.

But actually, that’s how much information we Americans consumed as a whole in 2008. Can you imagine how much more that must be now eight years later?!

According to that same study, the average American consumed about 34 gigabytes of data and about 100,000 words of information each day — an increase of about 350 percent over nearly three decades. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, texting, TV, video games, radio, billboards — information is being thrown at us from all angles whether we like it or not.

Information is obviously important and even vital in our everyday lives. But the near extinction of silence in our world is starting to take its toll, like a toothache that when left ignored turns into a much more serious and painful problem.

You may have heard the song called “Noise” by Kenny Chesney which highlights this crazy new reality in our world:

Twenty-four hour television, get so loud that no one listens.
Sex and money and politicians talk, talk, talk.
But there really ain’t no conversation,
Ain’t nothing left to the imagination,
Trapped in our phones and we can’t make it stop, stop

 We’re just as guilty as the next person when it comes to relying on our phones, Facebook, Instagram … the list goes on and on. But lately we’ve really been noticing that the lack of silence has cut down our conversations with God and has left us completely exhausted and stressed out.

The song goes on to say, “We didn’t turn it on but we can’t turn it off.” But even if we can’t stop the craziness and busyness of our incredibly fast-paced world, we do have control over how we use our own time. It’s extremely hard for us to say no sometimes, but we must make time for silence in order to hear the voice of God, truly connect with others and just be.

St. John Paul II (our favorite!) said this perfectly: “This is what man needs today; he is often unable to be silent for fear of meeting himself, of feeling the emptiness that asks itself about meaning; man who deafens himself with noise.”

So what better time than the present to give this a shot? Don’t be afraid to turn off the noise and listen. What does God want to say to you today?

Tricia and Nikki Walz are proud Minnesotans who were born and raised in the heart of St. Cloud with their younger sister Briana. Read more about them on the "Meet Our Bloggers" page.
Tricia and Nikki Walz are proud Minnesotans who were born and raised in the heart of St. Cloud with their younger sister Briana. Read more about them on the “Meet Our Bloggers” page.

I wonder…

The well-known song, “The 12 Days of Christmas,” leads us to believe that the Christmas season should be over by now. As Catholics, we celebrate the season of Christmas through the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. This year we celebrate that day on Jan. 9, which is the last day of Christmas and the first day of Ordinary Time (and there’s a Christmas feast day in February, but I’ll save that for another post).

Throughout Advent and now the Christmas season, I’ve been pondering the word “wonder.” I wondered what Mary and Joseph must’ve felt like as they found themselves in their situation. During Christmas, I wondered what the Magi thought as they followed the “Star of Wonder” to meet Jesus. How did they know what to do? How did they trust?

For me, the word “wonder” awakens vivid images of my childhood. We lived in the country with vast corn and soybean fields to the north and east and a wooded forest with a creek running through it to the south and west. This environment made for endless adventures and wonder after wonder — from the simplest rock to the wiggliest worm to the vastness of the universe captured in the design of a single snowflake.

Whenever our family gets together, my brother and sister and I reminisce about those long ago days. And yes, it gives me a “warm fuzzy” to conjure up memories of barefoot escapades on scorching summer days — building forts, climbing trees, drinking from the hose, snitching vegetables from the garden or just laying in the tall grass looking up at the clouds in the sky. In the winter, I recall being so bundled up in snow suits and boots that we could barely make our way outside for whatever winter adventure was on the agenda — creating snow tunnels, sledding, cross country skiing — or staying inside, losing myself in a good book cuddled up with a blanket in front of a warm fire.

In the seriousness of grown-up life, it seems that I have forgotten the joy of wonder. Instead, I wonder how I’m going to pay the mortgage. I wonder if I’m screwing up as a parent. I wonder if my car/refrigerator/snow blower is going to make it another season. Somehow I don’t think that’s the same sense of wonder the Magi felt as they journeyed toward the Christ child. It’s not even the same wonder I felt knowing my face would freeze in the cold air but bundling up in countless layers anyway just to see what new experience might be in store for me.

As I spiritually “bundle up” to face this new year, I feel dressed and ready, clothed in this word “wonder.” My hope is that it will help me grow in my ability to simply stand in awe of the Lord, to spend more time with him, to keep working on trusting more and more, to marvel at the great mysteries left for us to contemplate in Scripture, Creation and each other. I want to look at the world with a holy gaze. I want my eyes to widen and my soul to laugh the same way my children and grandchildren experience the joy of wonder at rocks and worms and snowflakes and clouds.

As we enter Ordinary Time, it’s my goal to cultivate this “excited amazed admiration” (as Merriam Webster defines it) and see the world as anything but ordinary. I already feel the tingle in my toes — barefoot, booted, or otherwise — knowing God will reveal his love for me in amazing ways if I just take the time to look. Where will the new year lead you? I wonder…

Kristi Anderson is a multimedia reporter and blog coordinator for The Visitor. Read more about Kristi on the Meet Our Bloggers page.

The 12th Day of Christmas

Using video and storytelling, Dianne Towalski tells interesting tales of what happens “behind the lens” in her latest blog post.

Blogger and Visitor photographer Dianne Towalski completes our 12 Days of Christmas series as she shares her top 12 favorite photos of 2016 and the stories behind them. Click here to view the video.

Dianne Towalski is a multimedia reporter for The Visitor as well as the paper’s page designer. Read more about Dianne on the Meet Our Bloggers page.

The 11th Day of Christmas

Eleven guest writers from around the diocese share tips on how to keep the Spirit of Christmas alive in the new year.

11 Tips to Keep the Spirit of Christmas Alive
in the New Year

#1. Smile. Inspired by a quote from St. Mother Teresa (“Peace begins with a smile”) as well as one of our Christmas poster contest entries, the gift of a smile is a very simple thing a person can do to keep Christmas alive in the new year. We hustle and bustle around all year long and how often do we remember to sport a healthy grin to those around us? Do you ever notice how you feel when a stranger holds the door for you and offers a friendly face? A smile may be a simple offering but it can make a big difference to the person who receives it! “A cheerful glance brings joy to the heart; good news invigorates the bones” (Proverbs 15:30). —Kristi Anderson, The Visitor

#2. Spend time with family and friends. The holidays give us opportunities to gather with family and friends – to slow down and take time to reconnect with our loved ones. Though, sometimes it seems like there are so many people we do not necessarily get time to really spend time together. This time of year especially, I remind myself that Christmas, and the celebration there of, invites us to spend time – real time – with others. Go on a family movie date (we just saw “Sing” in theaters, which was a great family flick, by the way). Invite a friend or family over for dinner. Take time with a few friends or one family. Share a meal. Visit. Play. Big family gatherings are great, but there is real goodness in the smaller gatherings, too! Even meet up with a friend for a coffee (or hot cocoa for you non-coffee drinkers)… the goal is to find and share joy in spending time with people – at Christmastime and throughout the whole year. —Jennifer Adams, Christ Our Light Parish in Princeton/Zimmerman

#3. Schedule time for service. One of the things my cousin is doing is scheduling going to Kids Against Hunger each month. Sometimes it’s easier to work service into one’s schedule when you actually schedule it and it’s listed on the calendar. —Brenda Kresky, diocesan consultant for adult faith formation

#4. Step up our prayer lives. This can mean adding a rosary, chaplet or novena to your prayer routine. It can also include reading about the saints, using a Saint of the Day book, or going for a daily relaxing walk while praying the rosary. Reading aloud to your family while they sip on hot cocoa (or ice tea in the summer!) is also a fun way to add in extra prayer time. Make a ‘Thinking of You’ card and insert a prayer card in it and send it to a person you think may be having a tough time. Instead of making a New Year’s resolution to improve oneself (losing weight, exercise, etc.), consider a promise to try harder to be ‘in tune’ with others’ wants and needs and help them. —Kathy Wagner, St. Joseph Parish, Bertha

#5. Keep all your Christmas cards and letters you receive. Then after the new year (or part way through the year, when you need a little spiritual boost), put them away one at a time. On the day you put each one away (be that recycling it, scrapbooking it, or whatever you do with your greetings from friends and family), pray in a special way for the person or family who sent it to you. Dedicate that day to them and lifting them up in prayer!  It’s a great way to re-live the feeling of Christmas as you re-read their Christmas messages. And it’s a great way to remind your mind, heart and faith life of the communion we all share as you hold your loved ones and acquaintances in prayer throughout your day.  As an extra bonus, send them a little message letting them know you’re praying for them especially that day; you never know how they may be needing to hear of your prayers and support that day.  It just may help both you AND them feel the Christmas spirit – of love, generosity, faith and accompaniment – alive again! (And maybe even encourage them to start this tradition with their Christmas cards – that’s how I got started). -Kateri Mancini, mission education coordinator, St. Cloud Mission Office

#6. Contemplate, praise, rejoice, discern. God became human in the Incarnation. Contemplating this mystery, Saint Francis of Assisi saw all of creation as revelatory of God. Let us join with Saint Francis: “In art he praises the Artist….he rejoices in all the works of the Lord’s hands, and through their delightful display he gazes on their life-giving reason and cause. In beautiful things he discerns Beauty Itself” (2 Celano 124). -Franciscan Sister Michelle L’Allier, Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls

#7. Connect a part of the Christmas story in something you do everyday.  I think about the Magi, bringing gifts to the newborn baby, and ask myself how I can be a gift to others in ways I have not been before. Each encounter in the new year is a new opportunity to show love and care, to people we know and new people we meet. -David Fremo, director of campus ministry, St. John’s Preparatory School

#8. Be present. In the Advent season, we learn that Jesus shall be called “Emmanuel,” which means “God is with us,” “Dios con nosotros.” Here and now, God makes a place among us — quite literally — next to us, beside us, on top of us, underneath us, holding our hand. Like new parents ever-conscious of an infant in their home; the child’s crying, sleeping, feeding, laughing, waking, presence at all times, so God is born to us in baby Jesus. How quickly we can forget God’s living in our midst. By increasing our awareness of Christ’s continued presence among us, we incarnate the spirit of joy, charity, peacefulness, and love with us at all times. -Margaret Nuzzolese Conway, associate director of development and alumni relations, St. John’s School of Theology, Collegeville

#9. Don’t let the garbage trucks determine the length or intensity of your celebration of Christmas. CHRISTMAS is a season; it goes on and on, at least until February 2, on one level. So don’t let the garbage trucks determine the length or intensity of your celebration of Christmas! Don’t give them your untrimmed tree too soon! The longer that jeweled tree can remind you of Jesus’ birth, death on another tree, Resurrection and Ascension, i.e. the entire mystery of the season, the better! On a second level, the Nativity, imaged in the crib scene, invites us to search for God in the least likely places: among the poor, the misfits, foreigners and nonbelievers. And above all, in our humanity! So why would we let the dump trucks or the storage room rob us of time to simply sit and ponder? Besides, February 2, the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, will be here before we want it! –Benedictine Sister Renee Domeier, St. Benedict’s Monastery, St. Joseph

#10. Actively think about Christmas. Let us think about the joy that the holiday brings through the smiles, the goodwill, the feelings towards others. St. Benedict urged his monks to keep death before thine eyes daily. I don’t believe he did this to scare or remind us of our own mortality but rather as a guidance for us to live our lives more fully. For what we focus on, we will become. Christmas allows us the opportunity to focus on the pleasantries of the season. We aren’t thinking about having to go back to work, or how we can’t wait for our schedules to return to normal. We are thinking about how we can be the light and spread the good news of the season. We focus on the good and the joy because our thoughts of Christmas create our emotions and feelings. So if we want to feel the joy we have to consciously think about the joy. If we want to feel the warmth of being surrounded by loved ones, we have to actively think about what our loved ones mean to us. I believe Christmas affords us permission to disconnect us from the hustle and bustle of “every day living,” but it’s really how we change our thinking. So for us to continue in the Christmas spirit, all we have to do is to change our thinking. Our thoughts will always determine our feelings and emotions! Michael Stalboerger, Birthline board member and member of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, Richmond

#11. Be artisans of peace. “All of us want peace. Many people build it day by day through small gestures and acts; many of them are suffering, yet patiently persevere in their efforts to be peacemakers. In 2017, may we dedicate ourselves prayerfully and actively to banishing violence from our hearts, words and deeds, and to becoming nonviolent people and to building nonviolent communities that care for our common home. ‘Nothing is impossible if we turn to God in prayer. Everyone can be an artisan of peace.'” -Pope Francis, 2017 World Day of Peace message, From the Vatican, 8 December 2016

The 10th Day of Christmas

Tim Welch, diocesan consultant for educational technology, shares 10 “Tech Commandments” which help us “reflect on ways that will characterize us as Christian technology users.”

God is with us!

We have been immersed in the sights and sounds and smells and tastes of a holy time when we, once again, ponder the wonders of a God who loves us so much that:

he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.  –John 3:16

Our response to this great love is conversion, the continual turning away from self-centeredness, and turning toward the life of other-centeredness that Jesus taught us. This is as true as ever in our age of high technology and social media.

The Ten Commandments help us do that. (see Deuteronomy, Chapter 5, at http://www.usccb.org/bible/dt/5:22) They were given to the Israelites in the midst of their desert journey, where God was doing everything possible to save them and convince them how much he loves them. The Ten Commandments provide some concrete direction in entering into that love relationship. It is significant that some of the commandments refer to a right relationship with God, while the others guide us in our relationship with our neighbors. Clearly God not only loves us, but wants us to share that love with each other.

On this Tenth Day of Christmas, it may be helpful to revisit the Ten Commandments through the lens of new developments and technologies. For example, the USCCB has a resource entitled “Ten Commandments for Drivers.” The description reads, “Those who know Jesus Christ are vigilant on the roads. They don’t only think about themselves, and are not always worried about getting to their destination in a great hurry. They see everyone as brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of God. This is the attitude that characterizes a Christian driver.”

Christmas is a time to see everyone as brothers and sisters again, and God as the loving God of us all. It can be a time, especially if we received new electronic gifts, to review our use of computer/mobile technology through the eyes of a people in communion with God. I offer the following to help us reflect on ways that will characterize us as Christian technology users:

Ten Tech Commandments

  1. Thou shall know that God is present everywhere, even online.
  2. Thou shall use technology to proclaim the Reign of God.
  3. Thou shall pray in your heart, “Oh My God” with love and sincerity whenever you see “OMG”.
  4. Thou shall bookmark a Gospel, or perhaps set www.usccb.org/bible/readings as your home page, and regularly read a passage slowly, deeply, and with reflection.
  5. Thou shall involve spouses and/or parents in online activities like social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.).
  6. Thou shall show respect for others in all online comments.
  7. Thou shall not make up online identities, for God loves YOU.
  8. Thou shall not bully.
  9. Thou shall not look at inappropriate images, but instead spend time consuming media that draws you closer to God.
  10. Thou shall not hack or spam; nor enable others to do so by responding to online messages/email from strangers or using weak passwords.

As I formulated the ‘Tech Ten’, I couldn’t help but think, “Gee, if we but loved God and each other, these would naturally happen. As much as the specifics help give some direction, I really appreciate Jesus’ wisdom when he reminded us to simply but deeply, “…love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind…” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself (http://www.usccb.org/bible/matthew/22/).”

I wonder what our faith formation students and Catholic school learners would write if we asked them to offer their own “Ten Commandments for Christian Technology Users.” Or maybe we can ask them to come up with “Beatitudes before Booting Up” as they ponder the Christmas Story.

Tim Welch is the Consultant for Educational Technology at Catholic Education Ministries, Diocese of Saint Cloud, MN. With more that 35 years of experience at the parish and diocesan levels, he is continually searching for ways of journeying with others to implement proven technologies that can serve ministry (especially catechesis).