Venerable Ab. Fulton Sheen on “Freedom”

Sheen on Freedom

Tonight I’m talking on freedom. Order your beers, boys.
– Venerable Fulton J. Sheen

Was it mere coincidence that U.S. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen was declared “venerable” on the same day that the United States Supreme Court upheld a law which had prompted current U.S. bishops to declare a Fortnight for Religious Freedom? Is it an accident that the man whose television series called, “Life is Worth Living” took one step closer to sainthood on the same day that the highest court of his homeland took one step closer toward free access to abortion, contraceptives, and sterilizations?

Not in my mind.

Let’s take heart and courageously move forward.

Venerable Fulton J. Sheen teaches us: “Freedom” (1954), in three parts…

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Marketing Inspiration: Café Catholica in Houston, TX

Cafe Catholica - Screen shot i

I’m a young adult. Let’s say I’m sitting in the pews before Mass, and an announcement is made: “Young adults ages 18 – 30 are invited to attend a dinner featuring speaker Joe Shmo about faith. This event is free, although you’ll have to drive across town for it, on a Monday night.”

Yeah. Right.

BUT WAIT! Fine-tune your marketing skills, and you can get hundreds – yes, HUNDREDS – of young adults to attend this sort of event. And they’ll come week after week.

That’s the case for Café Catholica, a weekly dinner series in Houston, Texas for young adults. The initiative began in June 1999 by the Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministry by the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, and has been chugging along ever since. They’ve got a great volunteer team that pulls the event together, headed by Heroic Media‘s Michael Newhouse.

Promotional materials can truly make all the difference. Just take a look at their website:

How many young adults would want to come hear a Catholic cardinal speak? Now, ask that question again, but consider this graphic as the advertisement:

Café Catholica’s entire Summer 2012 season draws inspiration from mobile game apps popular with the events’ young adult audience. (Theme: Do You Hunger for More than Games?) Check out this “Words with Friends” spoof:

So smart. (So smart, in fact, that each event draws between 250 to 350 young adults. Yes, on a Monday evening in Houston! Have you been through Houston traffic??)

I highly commend this savvy group of young Texans, and the Archdiocesan Office, for their outstanding efforts. They prove that Catholic YA events can be successful on a budget. Find the right team. Know your target audience. Appeal to your audience – no excuses.

P.S. Get more inspiration from their 2011 promotional video.

Link Collective: Catholic Media Conference 2012

CMC12 Logo

If you’re like me, you really would’ve liked to have joined the geeks, nerds, and curious folks at the 2012 Catholic Media Conference — but you just couldn’t make it.

I’ve been living vicariously through the #CMC12 hashtag this past week. Enjoy this collection of links, and feel free to comment with relevant additions, which I’ll be happy to add.

General

Noteworthy Addresses

Sessions

Reactions / Summaries

UPDATED: young Catholic priest’s unique music ministry

FrRobGalea.com - Screenshot i

For several years, I’ve been following the international music ministry of Father Rob Galea, who was ordained to the Catholic priesthood last year. He has been blessed to have shared the stage with big names like Matt Maher, Hillsong United, and Darlene Zschech.

Everything about his ministry has continued to inspire me – a polished website, heartfelt homily podcast, professional music recordings (including the Chaplet of Divine Mercy with meditations), music videos, social media presence, and still he maintains a young pastor’s heart.

Meet Fr. Rob and hear his vocation story in this great video by the Indonesian Catholic Youth Organisation in Perth, Western Australia:

UPDATE: Somebody’s got a great new website!

New links:

Congrats, Fr. Rob! The site is fantastic.

Site Inspiration – St. Anthony Shrine (Cincinnati, OH)

St. Anthony Shrine in Cincinnati, OH - Screen Shot i

I have high standards when it comes to parish, church and diocesan websites. Probably too high. My friends at Catholic Tech Talk have found some pretty good sites that were submitted to their parish site contest. They all have qualities worth praising. However, I find myself generally unsatisfied with them because, as a designer, the aesthetic appeal is so important to me.

Graphics, text, color, and the layout of any given website will help me instantly decide whether or not I’ll spend my time on it. In my opinion, a Catholic website should set itself to high standards in the aesthetics category, because our faith has celebrated beauty for generations – and is itself a most beautiful Treasure. Whenever a Catholic website strikes me as extraordinarily beautiful, I like to highlight it here.

OK. Done with my little rant. On to the showcase, Bob…

Today, I’m happy to present St. Anthony Shrine in Cincinnati, OH for your inspiration.

Highlights:

  • Dynamic photo background displays the shrine’s beauty and character
  • Easy buttons allow for instant interaction with the church
  • Email subscription opt-in form displays on every second-level page
  • 360 Degree Tour immerses the user (plus is fun and super neat)
  • Patron saint biography allows any parish a catechetical moment (Who was St. Elizabeth Ann Seton? St. Peter Claver? Where does Sacred Heart devotion come from? etc.)
  • Regularly-updated news blog catches a glimpse into shrine/friar life, and is closely tied to…
  • Super Facebook page with 7,000+ “likes” and active fan base

Like any page, I’d have some suggestions and critiques to make the shrine’s site even better. But what a fantastic feat these Friars have accomplished with new media!

Top 10 oddest gifts given to Pope Benedict XVI

Some honest humor...

Now, this is what I’m talking about!

Rome Reports‘ extensive coverage of Vatican happenings and Church news always serves as one of my first sources. Recently, they produced this hilarious, clever video of the “10 oddest gifts given to Benedict XVI.”

Wouldn’t you like more Catholic news organizations to have a little more fun? Come on…it’s the joy of the Spirit! I find Rome Reports’ humor inspiring.