The Media-Savvy Catholic Parent

As the mom of three children, ages 20, 16 and 10, I’m right in the thick of parenting digitally-active kids in an ever-more digitally-active age.  We consume media around here.  I’m probably the only one in the house who reads books anymore–and half the time, they’re e-books.  The rest of the family stays informed through television, radio, and various new media.

In my house, you’ll find computers, iPods, iPhones, iPads and a Kindle. You’ll find video games and a Netflix subscription.  We’ve got satellite radio and satellite TV.  While I’m the only one who blogs, three of us tweet and four of us Facebook.  The ten-year-old wishes he could, but we think he’s too young for that.

And in my house, we’re Catholics.  The kids go to Catholic schools (and, in one case, a Catholic university.)  We attend Mass weekly and our children serve as musicians and altar servers.  Our reality includes grace before meals–even when friends come over to visit, my own life as a Secular Franciscan, and “prayers upstairs” with the 10-year-old before he goes to bed each night.

Books like Infinite Bandwith:  Encountering Christ in the Media are encouraging to me as a parent.  Author Eugene Gan discusses the digital realities that our children (whether young children or young adults) encounter each day without being heavy-handed.  Media of all sorts are a part of just about everyone’s life, and Gan shows parents ways to use these media tools to help others learn about–and grow closer to–God.  Gan’s book explains seven “media keys” to help people approach the use of media in a sensible, faith-filled way, so that the media we consume can nourish our faith and that we can use media to inspire the faith of others.

This review was written as part of The Catholic Company product reviewer program. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information. I received a review copy of this book, but no other compensation, for the purposes of this review.

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Catholic Media Promotion Day: My Turn

Here’s where I get to share my VERY favorite Catholic websites, blogs, podcasts, apps and more with you. Today’s the day when Catholic bloggers, facebookers and tweeters are telling the world about their favorite Catholic New Media resources. These are my own personal “go-to” resources. Your mileage may vary, but I’m a big fan of the ones listed below.  These are in no particular order.

APPS:
Divine Office.  Learn to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, and take it on the go with their app!  At this writing, it’s $14.99, but well worth it for the portability and completeness of this app.  Web version of daily prayer is free, but with the app you can download a few days’ worth and take it with you even if you don’t have Wi-Fi access.

iPieta.  $2.99 and SO worth it!   This is a big app, full of complete versions of Catholic documents, teachings, spiritual writings, prayers and calendars.

Stations of the Cross.  For Lent or anytime!  This version is based on the meditation book by Michael Dubriel and Amy Welborn, published by Ave Maria Press.  FREE.

BLOGS:
Quantum Theology, hosted by Michelle–a chemistry professor and columnist for the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s Catholic Standard & Times.

Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering, hosted by Sarah Reinhard.  Her reflections are mature beyond her years, and her devotion to the Blessed Mother is inspiring.

Praying for Grace, hosted by Barbara.  She’s got spinoff blogs as well, related to her rosary-making business and her love of cooking.  This one, her main site, shows a day in the life of a homeschooling, cooking, knitting, rosary-making, reading, praying mom with a generous heart and gentle spirit.

WEBSITES:
Catholic Mom, hosted by Lisa Hendey.

Grace Before Meals, hosted by Father Leo Patalinghug.  Great recipes and a huge helping of encouragement for Catholic families.

PODCASTS:
Among Women Podcast, hosted by Pat Gohn.

Faith & Family Live Podcast, hosted by the Faith & Family bloggers.  Great support for Catholic moms.

WORTH A FOLLOW ON TWITTER:
Fr. Charles, also of A Minor Friar blog.  His description:  “Tweeting the sublime hilarity and the hilarious sublimity of life and learning as a Capuchin Franciscan friar.”

American Papist for all kinds of Catholic news, views and humor. 

Danielle Bean, whose work I’ve been following (in some form or other) since 2005.  Her tweets lead you to great articles, both her own and those by other writers.

STUFF I LIKE ON FACEBOOK:
Ave Maria Press:  info about their latest titles and more.  During Lent:  40 Days of Soup feature!


Our Sunday Visitor:  links to articles about current events from their website and print edition.


The Rosary Workout:  author’s page by Peggy Bowes.


Family-Centered Press, home of excellent cottage-industry Catholic planners.

ONLINE NEWS:
National Catholic Register, online edition.  Articles, blogs and more.  Subscribe to the online edition for access to all print-edition content.  Many features are FREE but the subscription is worth it!


Catholic News Agency.  All the latest current events in the church and in the world.

RADIO SHOW (OK, that’s not exactly “new” media, but it is satellite radio. So I say it counts):
The Catholics Next Door, hosted by Greg & Jennifer Willits, on The Catholic Channel (Sirius 159, XM 117). I bought an “all access pass” for Sirius/XM so I can listen to this show at home OR in my car. They have great guests, fun games, and a huge touch of reality–they are a real family, kids, pets and all, just trying to live out their vocation as Catholics in the real world. There’s even a weekly podcast!

Be sure to check the Catholic New Media Promotion Day page on facebook to see everyone else’s favorites! My guess is that it will be a gold mine of great resources.

Coming Soon: Catholic Media Promotion Day

Here’s where I say that I hope you didn’t give up facebook for Lent!

You see, Greg and Jennifer Willits of my favorite Catholic radio show, The Catholics Next Door on Sirius/XM radio, have proposed that next Tuesday, March 15, be dedicated to sharing our favorite Catholic media resources: blogs, podcasts, websites and more.

Visit the facebook page and “Like” it so you’ll receive all the details. If you’ve got a blog, post about YOUR favorite Catholic media resources–but don’t post that info until March 15. Here’s the instructions:

On March 15, 2011, everyone with a blog, podcast, or Facebook page should list their favorite 3 blogs, 3 podcasts, 3 other media, 3 random Catholic things online, and their own projects. Then, post the link to your list on the Catholic Media Promotion Day facebook page on March 15th. Additionally, to help get the word out, press are asked to write articles and press releases for this day. Lastly, on March 15th, go to iTunes and leave at least 3 positive written reviews for various Catholic podcasts and 3 positive written reviews for Catholic mobile applications.

Spread the word–and share your favorites! It’s not a contest, just a way to get the word out about some great Catholic new media resources.

And after you share them on Tuesday, keep on sharing them! Our parish bulletin prints a link each week, in a regular “Links of Faith” feature. Why not ask your pastor if you can supply a list of new media resources to be published in your parish bulletin and shared with your whole community?