Yes, the Rosary is repetitive! [Marshall McLuhan Monday]

MMM - The Rosary

Speaking with “Rosary Priest” Father Patrick Peyton in 1971, McLuhan sheds light on the Rosary and meditation from a media perspective:

Much of the complaint about the Rosary is: ‘The Rosary is repetitive.’ It is—precisely—replay! And it is a perpetual deepening, not a superficial treatment at all. But there is in the replay a deeper awareness of the pattern and of the events that have taken place—the pattern of events, the process. And so, replay offers a deeper level of awareness than the first play.
I think the Rosary is a perpetual way of deepening our awareness, and the repetitions are really very close to the world of resonance, which is of itself a world of profound involvement and of insight. And a feeling of ‘at home-ness.’

Parade of Nations – CathMedia from around the globe

Sydney Archd - Screen Shot i

The 2012 Summer Olympics have begun! On this grand occasion, let’s check out some inspiring Catholic media from around the globe.


Always first in the Parade of Nations: Greece. As you may know, there are many Greek Catholic churches within the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. Among them, we find the Melkite Greek Catholic Church. Its Patriarchate has a beautiful website, though under construction. Treat yourself to the hymn on the front page.


Probably one of the most colorful cities I’ve visited is Sydney. It’s fitting that the Archdiocese of Sydney‘s website is not only colorful, but beautiful. (Few websites can use this many colors and still be described as “beautiful.”) Sydneysiders are also some of the friendliest people on earth; you’ll find the Archdiocesan website user-friendly in…

  • Memorable domain
  • Easy topical buttons (ex: Mass Times, Becoming a Catholic, What’s New?)
  • Straightforward navigation bars
  • Special events featured as homepage “button-sized” banners
  • Mass times listed by neighborhood/region with Google Maps
  • and come on…who doesn’t love gorgeous photographs of Sydney?

The Archdiocese of Sydney has an extraordinary new media presence. Diocesan special events boast unique sites/domains and Facebook pages. Every event has outstanding graphic and media promotion. Find several on The Mustard Seed Bookshop‘s site.


Costa Rica’s Archdiocese of San José Department of Communications demonstrates great courage through their various projects, including talk and music radio stations—Radio Fides and Música Fides—which both stream online. (I highly recommend them! Check out the various types of music on Música Fides by clicking the brown buttons; my favorite is Urban.)


Olympic controversy brews between Israel and Palestine, due to the Munich massacre during 1972’s games. But in the Church, Catholics are united in spirit crossing nation-state borderlines. Jerusalem is home to the “diocese” of the Holy Land, called the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem which constitutes four territories. Recently, the Latin Patriarch updated his website! Looks great, doesn’t it? While many dioceses here in the USA are afraid to incorporate social media into their websites, social media abound in this one.

In fact, when I was on pilgrimage there, some of the Palestinian Christian students in Bethlehem University said that social media have become integral to telling their side of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict story. And to let the Church universal know they exist. (Holy Land Christians are called “The Forgotten Christians.”)

You may be mistaking Rome for your spiritual motherland. I highly suggest subscribing to the Patriarchate’s social media feeds, to stay in touch with Mother Church – the Church in the Holy Land. You’ll find fascinating content.

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem works hand-in-hand with the Franciscans to guard and care for the Holy Land. This is called Custodia Terrae Sanctae (the Holy Land Custody). Their website is unmatched, in my opinion, for its aesthetic appeal, user-friendliness, content quality, and catholicism (experience the site in eight languages). Stay in touch with the Franciscans of the Holy Land; see the places of our Christian heritage by subscribing to their social media feeds.


I don’t speak French, but I’m pretty sure this is hilarious. Check out one of the many videos that France’s national World Youth Day committee created to promote WYD 2013 in Rio de Janeiro. (This one’s a spoof.)

Here’s a more serious one. Outstanding production quality!


Whether or not you speak German, you’ll appreciate Mystagogische Kirchenführung. You’ll be led through a Catholic church and discover the ancient ritual significance of holy water, Tabernacle, ambo, etc. An excellent model for similar catechetical programs.


Flying across beautiful blue waters, we find Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Ozamiz City, Philippines. The site reflects the area’s large and vibrant community. Highlights include:

  • Easily-accessible Mass schedule, with sacramental prep seminar schedule
  • Attractive, updated daily gospel sidebar
  • Homilies with social media share buttons
  • Parish news feed, which links to photo galleries of recent events (take a look – they’re great!)


Carrying South Africa’s flag during the Parade of Nations was one of the Games’ most famous athletes, Caster Semenya, who underwent humiliation and scorn in 2009 due to her power and talent.

Perhaps Semenya has listened to Radio Veritas of South Africa. The station is clearly experimenting with social and new media. Their website boasts live sections displaying the current on-air host; news from the station, CNS, and Southern Cross, plus a Vatican News widget; station podcasts; live streaming audio; and (separate) SMS numbers to text in your comments or Mass intentions.

After having seen dozens of African Catholic websites, I can definitely say that Radio Veritas is at the forefront of African Catholic new media usage. Let’s continue to pray and support our African brothers and sisters. May their passionate Catholicism be translated into a digital witness.


The Catholic Church in England and Wales has teamed up with More Than Gold, the official Christian 2012 Olympic charity/evangelization organization, which has an outstanding website itself:

The Catholic Church’s answer to the 2012 Olympics is the John Paul II Foundation for Sport. The organization aims to found new sport clubs throughout the London diocese, then branch out as far as possible. Aiming to move youth ‘from gangs to clubs’, the Foundation may become a Catholic legacy of the 2012 Olympic Games.


I hope that, after reading this blog post, you’re more enticed to explore Catholic media projects from around the globe. Our catholic Catholic family is doing some great things online. Have you found any gems to share?

Site Inspiration – St. Ignatius in San Francisco, CA

St. Ignatius in San Francsico, CA - Screen Shot i

It’s not easy finding a superior parish website, but I am happy inside when I do.

Immediately, St. Ignatius parish in San Francisco website visitors note the Jesuit flavor to this site design.

Take note:

  • Clean design; consistent color scheme and fonts
  • Excellent photographic banners display church’s unique beauty
  • Mass/Sacraments schedule easy to find
  • Quick Links to documents visitors are seeking
  • Social media buttons, while Facebook is only active profile, we know to look for this parish on other networks soon
  • Drop-down menu is straightforward, user-friendly
  • Search & Sitemap ensure you’ll find whatever’s available

This website is still under construction in some places, but the important information is present. The site serves a beautiful example of what every parish website can do – without too many bells and whistles. Congratulations, St. Ignatius parish! You’re inspiring.

Do new media disembody humans? [Marshall McLuhan Monday]



McLuhan spoke and wrote much on the electric age’s effects on humans as persons, having both body and soul:

When you go on the telephone, you are transformed. You become instantly available to your friend in Chicago or he becomes instantly here to be able to talk to us in Toronto. You can talk to Tokyo and Chicago and to New York simultaneously. And this gives you sort of the dimension of an angel: an almost preternatural being, disembodied spirit.

In the electric age, man becomes a kind of disembodied spirit. I don’t think our institutions have any way of coping with this new dimension of man—the angelic, discarnate man of the electric age who is always in the presence of the other men in the world. (TV Interview with Father Patrick Peyton, 1971)

Does our use of new media create a void which the physical once filled? Could this be one reason for the Western world’s continued disregard for the dignity and value of human life, sexuality, and bodies/health? Clearly, McLuhan was onto something here.

Perhaps this is an area where the Church would become a “sign of contradiction,” refraining from liturgies saturated with new media, for instance.

What do you think? Have you felt the effects of new media that McLuhan suggests?

Remedy for boring church bulletins? A free service you should know.

Adding interactive content

Your church bulletin? Pretty boring. You can spice it up.

Meet Calaméo, a FREE service that takes your boring publications and (with your help) adds that spice.

As Easy As

  1. Create a free account.
  2. Upload your Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, Text or PDF document.
  3. Done. Your document now looks fancy, and we can “turn” its virtual pages.

Grab the link, and anyone can read it from Calaméo’s website. OR you can grab the HTML code that Calaméo generates for you, and embed the document onto your own website.

Want Sugar With Your Spice?

“But,” you say, “other services do this for me. Why use Calaméo?” A couple of weeks ago, our ministry’s digital “Spiritual Pilgrimage” project compelled me to seek such a service. I’d experimented with similar tools (including the popular Issuu), and was growing discouraged.

All of a sudden, I discovered Calaméo, which sold me on its ease of use and features:

  • Did I mention free?
  • Compatible with Apple devices (iPod Touch, iPad, iPhone, etc.)
  • Unlimited documents
  • Embed document onto your website
  • Embed videos within document
  • Create a Table of Contents
  • Link to pages within your document
  • Link to outside websites
  • Customize the document reader
  • Add background music
  • Custom background image
  • Daily viewer statistics
  • …y mucho más
Adding interactive content

Can My Parish Secretary Work This?

Yes. Let’s call her Martha. At bare minimum, if Martha just accomplishes those 3 simple steps listed above, your parish bulletin automatically gains The Nifty Factor and can be accessed online.

If Martha is willing to put in five extra minutes and can draw a square, she can add links or even YouTube videos to the bulletin. (It’s really that easy.)

The Possibilities

Imagine taking full advantage of & promoting interactive bulletins. If your pastor records a video version of his weekly reflection, Martha could add it to the bulletin. She could link to your parish PayPal account for online donations. She might link announcements [diocesan, parish group, outside apostolate] to the accompanying organization’s webpage. Your sponsors could even pay a bit more to have their ad turned into a hyperlink that directly connects readers with their website or Facebook page! Bottom line: Your bulletin can become more interesting, interactive, and accessible.

Nerd Alert

Calaméo’s cutting-edge. It’s the first service of its kind compatible with Apple devices. Now, its team is Beta testing a new reader which allows you to track views using Google Analytics, easier sharing via Facebook and Twitter, and overall cleaner design. Testers are excited. (So am I!)


Franciscan Friar Signed to Major Label, Recording at Abbey Road


Is he a modern-day Francis?

Get excited. Friar Alessandro Brustenghi, a Franciscan from Assisi in his mid-30’s, has become the first Franciscan friar to sign a record deal with a major music label (Decca Records of Universal Music). I recently had the pleasure of tweeting him, and was pleased to discover that he personally responds! He clearly loves our Lord with that characteristically passionate, Franciscan love.

His tweet to me (re: Feast of Corpus Christi):

Thank you! God is Love, Love is a Gift, Gift is a Man and now the Man is Bread and Wine. The greatest miracle for everybody!

…Wow, did he just create a Tweet-sized Eucharistic theology? How Franciscan.

Proceeds raised by Friar Alessandro’s music will be channeled directly to the Order of Friars Minor to continue their centuries-old work among the most needy.

Joy radiates from Friar Ale’s bright smile and laughter! Thank God for this very needed, public witness to the beauty of Catholicism.

Interviews with Friar Alessandro

Connect with Friar Alessandro (show him your support!)

Mmm…Marshall McLuhan Mondays! Get your CathMedia geek fix.


New, exclusive series on the blog! Tune in each Monday for a mind-meltingly mesmerizing memo from one of CathMedia’s modern forefathers, Marshall McLuhan…ergo, Marshall McLuhan Mondays!

Who’s Marshall McLuhan?

Were you a communications student, you’d never ask; you’d know he was a genius. In his own time, The New York Times described him as, “one of the most acclaimed, most controversial and certainly most talked-about of contemporary intellectuals.”

Born 1911 and raised in a Protestant Canadian home, Herbert Marshall McLuhan discovered Catholicism as a Cambridge university student thanks to G.K. Chesterton. He converted in 1937, enraptured with the Catholic connection between art, beauty, and the intellect. He prayed unceasingly and was a daily communicant.

Professor McLuhan was a literature expert-turned-media & communications theorist. He taught only at Catholic institutions. Somewhat of a prophet, McLuhan predicted the direction of modern media—even the birth and rise of the Internet and social media! (Detractors thought he was a radical / nutcase.) His most popular terms are “global village” and “the medium is the message.”

McLuhan died on my birthdate, and I’m quite the fan.

TODAY: The Electric World & The Communion of Saints

McLuhan’s reflection on our electric bonds & the communion of saints:

We live in an electric, simultaneous world, where most of the relationships between men are now invisible. The human bond—the electric, instant bond around the planet—is invisible! Which is not unlike the things we were talking about in relation to the Mystical Body [of Christ], which is entirely around us and entirely invisible—or, at least, mostly invisible.

(TV Interview with Father Patrick Peyton, 1971)

Tune in each Monday for more delicious doses of McLuhan CathMedia musings!

Hidden Lesson for Pastors: Consider Using Video


This Sunday, Cross Point Church may be protested by the infamous congregation of Westboro Baptist.

To prepare his flock for the coming wrath, Cross Point’s Senior Pastor, Pete Wilson, put out a short video this week:

Watching this, I thought: Why don’t priests do this every week? I’d love seeing a short video from my pastor every week to either remind me how to live the Gospel message, or to prepare me for the coming Sunday’s readings. Maybe even discuss something big happening in our community.

What do you think?

The New Evangelization – in Yiddish and Latin?


Ever heard Latin, Yiddish, English and Spanish together in the same presentation?

Ever heard that combo from a Catholic priest?

This weekend, I attended a conference called, “The New Evangelization: Led by the Spirit, Fed by the Eucharist,” at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio. The entire, two-day event was presented by a single preacher who held everyone’s attention: Father Bruce Nieli, C.S.P., a New York native who grew up with an anti-Catholic/evangelically-leaning mother, nominally Catholic father, Sicilian grandmother, and very Jewish friends. He preaches like a Baptist preacher, and talks and jokes like Larry David.

This guy was a blast.

Yet, he made everyone uncomfortable at some point – pushing all the buttons in all the right places…death penalty, abortion, preferential option for the poor, immigration, same-sex ‘marriage’, universal healthcare, Scripture study, Eucharistic Adoration, obedience to the Magisterium, being ‘more Catholic than the pope’, and on and on. He alluded to the works of many “liberal” and many “conservative” voices, and drew from the life examples of both “social justice” workers and “liturgy-minded” leaders, while painting a wholistically Catholic picture.

Fr. Bruce Nieli, C.S.P.

Father Bruce’s talks addressed the New Evangelization from the 4 transcendentals for which every human heart hungers and thirsts: unity, truth, goodness, and beauty. These he connected with the 4 marks of the church, 4 parts of the Catechism, 4 Greek words describing Church life, and 4 qualities of love.

The amazing part? This conference was extremely accessible;

We sang spirituals together, we talked about movies and TV shows, Elvis to Lady Gaga, The Wizard of Oz to The Hunger Games. He told stories of Americana – stories about Dorothy Day, Cesar Chavez, Cardinal Bernardin, Danny Thomas, and many others – stories that we’d never heard before.

Read my notes from this remarkable conference on The New Evangelization.

You’ll find contact information for Fr. Bruce Nieli there. Consider inviting him to your diocese; he is sure to give you a swift kick in the pants – out the door, overjoyed to be Catholic, and excited to share your faith with the world.