Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Monday, February 19, 2018

HARTFORD – The Archdiocese of Hartford added social media to its ongoing efforts to evangelize as the Year of Faith opened in October.

Archbishop Henry J. Mansell began a blog, accessible from the archdiocesan Web site at www.archdioceseofhartford.org, and opened a Twitter account in an effort to increase outreach. The archdiocese announced its new presence on Facebook at the same time.

"People, especially teenagers, are vastly involved in social media, and if I can connect with them on this level and teach them the significance of the Year of Faith, I want to do that," said the archbishop.

Pope Benedict XVI, who declared the Year of Faith, chose "Social Networks: Portals of Truth and Faith; New Spaces for Evangelization" as the theme for World Communications Day 2013 in the context of the Year of Faith.

The announcement of his theme was made in September by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. The pope said that cyberspace provides the Church with new missionary territory.

That is because "technology has emerged as part of the fabric of connectivity of human experiences," including how people build relationships and seek knowledge, the social communications council said.

Father Jeffrey V. Romans, secretary to the archbishop and assistant chancellor, said the archdiocese was eager and ready to follow the pope’s lead for the Year of Faith.

"The Holy Father has been a strong proponent of using modern-day technology to evangelize the world, and the archdiocese is following in his path by launching these new social media ways of reaching out to Catholics near and far to spread the message of Jesus Christ," he said.

In his first blog, posted on Oct. 11, the first day of the Year of Faith, the archbishop welcomed readers to join him in marking the special year.

"This sacred time will provide Catholics here in the Archdiocese of Hartford and throughout the world a special opportunity to celebrate, deepen and share the spiritual richness of our Catholic faith. This year will be marked by evangelization efforts, increased Catholic formation opportunities, prayer and liturgical celebrations," he wrote.

He also announced the launch of the Facebook page and invited everyone to sign up to receive occasional Tweets from him on the Twitter account.

The first post on the Facebook page provided a link to the archdiocesan site’s Year of Faith page.

Also under discussion are webcasts of conversations about Catholicism among groups of young people, hosted by Father John Gatzak, executive director of the archdiocesan Office of Radio and Television, said Father Romans.

At the same time, more earthbound activities are progressing. Year of Faith prayer cards have been distributed in the churches. Father Romans said cards with the same prayer in Spanish and Polish will be available soon.

A committee is planning a number of events related to the new evangelization. The Catholic Transcript will announce them as they progress, will carry articles about many of them and will highlight items related to the new evangelization by tagging them with the Year of Faith logo.

In the near term, the annual Religious Education Congress for directors of religious education and catechists is planned for Nov. 3 at St. Paul Catholic High School. Its theme is "Catechists and Teachers – Agents of the new Evangelization."

Deacon Arthur Miller, director of the archdiocese’s Office for Black Catholic Ministries, is offering an ongoing Bible study class at St. Mary Parish in Simsbury. The next sessions are from 6:30-8 p.m. Nov. 7 and 20.

The archdiocese also hopes to spread the faith through the arts by way of the Sacred Sounds Concert Series at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford. Concerts will be presented at 7 p.m. Nov. 4 and 3 p.m. Nov. 18. Both are open to the public.

Word y Vino, the bilingual group for people ages 21-29 that discusses the Catholic faith, will have its next meeting from 6-8 p.m. Nov. 26 at the Puerto Vallarta Restuarante in Newington. The topic will be "Cuerpo y Sangre/The Ultimate Gift."

The opening of the Year of Faith coincided with the 50th anniversary of the start of the Second Vatican Council.