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Using social media to connect with God

Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria welcomed four special guests Nov.10. The keynote speaker was producer, blogger, speaker and media host, Father Roderick Vonhogen, who joined the event via Skype. The focus of the assembly was Father Vonhogen’s book GeekPriest: Confessions of a New Media Pioneer, selected by Ireton's “One Book, One Community” program that was established two years ago. Joining Father Vonhogen were three panelists: Soren Johnson, Natalie J. Plumb, Sarah Yaklic, plus moderator and Ireton teacher, Ashley Brashear, all prominent members of the Arlington Diocese and the Archdiocese of Washington.

Just as Father Vonhogen wrote about in GeekPriest, he explained how he uses social media for religious information, evangelization, catechesis, formation and education. He and the panelists posed a pressing question: How can we put God’s essence and beauty into social media platforms? He stressed that the church needs to show the pure joy of the faith while making it relevant for young people. One Book, One Community highlights the importance of building that brand.

Father Vonhogen and the panelists also explained how we can connect with God and with our brothers and sisters through social media. They described God as our ultimate follower, as He receives continuous live updates of our lives. Just as our friends and followers on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook like, comment and favorite what we have to say, God does the same with each and every choice we make. With every good choice, God is there to give us a thumbs up or “like,” and with every wrong move He is not there to give us a thumbs down, but instead to present helpful feedback or “comments” and push us in the direction of making better choices.

Molly Nealon, a senior at Bishop Ireton and the school president stated, “One Book, One Community and the speakers made me aware that God’s presence is in everything that we do, including social media. There is more than one way we can reach out to people and spread God’s will in a world that is becoming more and more linked together every day.” 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016