By STEPHEN O’KANE, Staff Writer | Published May 22, 2008
Every year, tens of thousands of Catholics flock to the Georgia International Convention Center for the Eucharistic Congress, a diverse gathering that reaches out to people of many nations, cultures and races.
This year, on the day following the Congress, those working in a new brand of ministry will be gathering at the GICC. The Catholic New Media Celebration (CNMC) will be held Sunday, June 22, with the objective of gathering Catholics to share and explore how new forms of media can aid the Catholic Church in evangelization. Anyone interested in new media is invited to attend.
The CNMN is an educational and spiritual one-day event to help all Catholics live out the “great re-launching” of evangelization called for by Pope John Paul II. In the spirit of the Holy Father’s writings regarding the New Evangelization, the CNMC is a day of sharing the latest technologies and techniques used by both religious and laypeople to creatively and effectively invite others to grow in the Catholic faith through new and modern ways, not only in parishes and dioceses, but throughout the whole world.
New media includes podcasts, games, computer software, Web sites and blogs, among other forms of media.
“Our motto is come for the Eucharistic Congress, stay for the Catholic New Media Celebration,” said Greg Willits, chief operating officer of the Star Quest Production Network, the host of the event.
Parishes and other Catholic organizations are encouraged to send their technology representatives to learn more about the technologies that can assist both religious and laypeople in evangelization efforts through the use of technology.
“It is amazing how much new media—such as podcasting, blogs and other technologies—have helped people grow in their faith and grow closer to God,” said Willits, who with his wife Jennifer created the popular “That Catholic Show” video series and also co-hosts the award-winning Rosary Army Catholic Podcast. “We want the Catholic New Media Celebration to be exactly that—a celebration of this technology for the people who use it, as well as for those who create it.”
The event begins at 8 a.m. on Sunday with registration. At 9 a.m., an official welcome and opening prayer will be said, followed by a musical performance by Popple. Speeches, panels and Mass will be conducted throughout the day, with guests including Father Roderick Vonhögen, host of “Catholic Insider” and “Daily Breakfast”; Lino Rulli, Sirius Satellite’s The Catholic Guy; Jessica Handley, Web master for the Archdiocese of Atlanta; and Father Leo Patalinghug, host of “Grace Before Meals,” which is currently in development as a television show.
The Catholic New Media Celebration is organized and hosted by Greg and Jennifer Willits, founders of the Rosary Army, a non-profit Catholic apostolate dedicated to making, praying and giving away rosaries. Greg and Jennifer, who have four sons, have been featured on several media programs, including Eternal Word Television Network’s Life on the Rock, Sirius Satellite’s Catholic Channel and National Catholic Register.
The hosting organization, Star Quest Production Network, was founded by Father Vonhögen. SQPN produces on-demand audio and video programs and offers a portal for a select number of affiliated Catholic podcasters who share the vision and media strategy of SQPN.
Registration for the event is free, but space is limited. Visit http://celebration.sqpn.com for more information on how to register or volunteer. A full speakers schedule and guest list is also available.