Webmasters Session Conference of Religious of France

The 10-11th February 2017, Srs Colette Gélinas, Rhona Burns and Irène Bourel took part in the annual « Session for Webmasters » of the Conference of Religious of France in Paris. They share with us what the session had to offer them in their mission of communication.

Why participate in a session for webmasters ?

As members of the international coordination team we are responsible for the Congregation website. It is our virtual public space in a world where we are called to be present. We find ourselves faced with evolutions and mutations that can sometimes seem alarming. They say we are travelling towards another continent where there will be many possibilities but also much that is ambivalent. In 2014 Pope Francis invited Catholics to be « digital citizens », to engage with this complexity, in order to announce Christ there. Hence our presence at the session, along with forty other brothers, sisters and lay people from thirty different congregations and monasteries in France.

The theme for 2017 « Thinking about ecclesial communion at the time of the Web »

These two days with their mixture of presentations, workshops and discussions were in themselves a moment of ecclesial communion. A sister who is a « webmaster » has to have a good grip on the technical side of digital technology. At the same time the session allowed us to reflect and share on the impact of all that is digital on our spiritual, personal and community life.

 

Two of the main presentations, « Spiritual resources for an apostle of the Web 2.0 » and «Conversation and attention in the digital age » challenged us to rethink the balance needed to keep our bearings in a world where the Internet is omnipresent. In a society where technique, emotion and dispersion reign, we need to be rooted like a tree, to discern how much time to give to the Internet, and to integrate it into our lives by giving it its right place. Today, when we often find ourselves « alone together », where everything happens so fast and we want everything, immediately, « 13 ways to chill out» were very welcome !

How to communicate in an effective and attractive way

Communication has always been at the heart of the Christian message but how do we announce the Good News in the digital world of today ? A choice of workshops … how to make a video using a smart-phone … keeping safe on the Internet … how to do a live interview on radio … being present on Facebook and Twitter … provided us with an over-view of certain techniques that will, we hope, allow us to be more effective in what we do.

On the 18th February the Bishops of France (http://www.eglise.catholique.fr) published their message for Communications Sunday celebrated annually in May. Under the theme of Communciating hope and confidence in our time, they say to us, « The Church has known throughout time, how to use the means at its disposal to reply to each new challenge and how to communicate the Gospel. It therefore uses the means of today … in order to adapt its communication to the mutations engendered by the new technologies. It also needs to train and form those in charge ». With the formation which they have received at this session the participants hope to be better equipped to respond to these new challenges.

Srs Colette Gélinas, Rhona Burns and Irène Bourel

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