Benedictine nuns spread Gospel through social media

For nearly 130 years, the Missionary Benedictine Sisters have made it their mission to spread the Gospel, reaching 19 countries and five continents.The sisters have also expanded their mission to reach the web.

“It was because of our development office that we had a need to expand our ministry via cyberspace,” said Sr Kevin Hermsen, the development director at the Immaculata Monastery in Norfolk, Nebraska, in the US. “We are following the direction of the Holy Father regarding evangelising using the forms of media that are available today.”

The sisters at Immaculata Monastery have been able to use social media as a way to evangelise both nationally and globally. “We are an international missionary congregation,” said MacKenzie Clayton, the monastery’s media coordinator. “We want to share the word of God around the world. We have contact with sisters around the world and they give us updates on situations that are going on.”

The Immaculata Monastery in Norfolk is the location of the order’s province headquarters, but sisters are stationed in countries across the globe – including Uganda, the Philippines, Spain and Argentina. As a way to get their message out globally, the Missionary Benedictine Sisters created a website to interact with those outside of the monastery – www.mbsmissionaries.org.

One of the ways that people like to interact with the sisters is through their website’s “Adopt a Sister” programme, which allows people to send in prayer requests.


Video catechism series uses hip-hop and graphics to appeal to youth

A new series of catechism videos is in the works aimed at youth and focusing on morality. Bob Rice, a professor at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, in the US, is the writer for the series, known as VCat. The first video in the “Morality” series was released recently.

Titled Love God/Love Each Other, this video morphs hip-hop music and graphic arts to discuss the importance of love.

It is a collaboration between Rice, Outside da Box Productions (which produces nearly every video in what is a four-year series), Likeable Art (a graphics art specialists company) and Righteous B, a Christian musician.

“One of the important things about the video catechism,” said Bob Perron, executive director of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston’s Department of Youth Ministry, “is that we are using several different genres, both in video style and approach, to make these relevant to young people. This particular video has an urban feel to it that will appeal to youth not only in West Virginia, but in the country.”

Rice agreed. “What we are doing with these 18 videos is show young people that the commandments of God actually set us free and don’t restrict us,” he said.


Children's app explains the life of Jesus

Smartphones and tablets are very familiar tools these days for children who grow up immersed in the latest digital technologies. My First Bible Stories app aims to use that familiarity to teach children about the life of Jesus. 

The app includes stories, comic strips and videos that help them to understand the Bible better. It also includes games that help them learn about biblical stories, such as the Wedding of Cana or of Moses and the Exodus. 

The interactive app is for children under nine years old, but it’s also a useful tool for teachers and parents. It also comes in seven languages: Spanish, Eng-lish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese and Catalan. The My First Bible Stories app is free and available for iPhone and iPad.