Thursday, March 15, 2007

Of Computers and Calendars

In advance of Tuesday night's Ecclesia Virtualis lovefest at St Joseph's University here in Pharaohville, Dan Joyce SJ -- SJU assistant VP of mission and mastermind behind the first-of-its-kind panel on blogs in the church -- plugs it in the pages of The Hawk (who, need anyone be reminded, will never die):
YouTube and Blogspot and Facebook - Oh my! No, Dorothy, you are not just in Kansas anymore. You are everywhere the Internet exists. The way we talk to each other and come to understand other people has changed dramatically in the last 10 years due to the newest media found on our home computers. We are both fascinated and terrified by the things that can and do happen in the new world that the Internet has created for us. Is this a "new frontier" that will change educational or religious organizations? I think that the Jesuit world has already witnessed vast changes via "the 'Net".

The spirituality of Saint Ignatius of Loyola is now more available to individuals than any other time in history. The plethora of websites that promote prayer methods based on the Spiritual Exercises has multiplied, and each portal of activity has exposed literally millions of people to the particulars of a spirituality that was only available via a personal encounter with a Jesuit who was trained in preaching Ignatian retreats. Now, in a very personal way, people can explore a relationship with God using the suggestions of Saint Ignatius online....

Transmitting from the U.S. is Creighton University's Online Ministries, which offers a whole smorgasbord of spiritual activities and reflections. Here you can actually engage in ways of doing the Spiritual Exercises online. This site has been very popular with faculty and staff on Hawk Hill. Also, Tom Rickards of the Theology Department is hosting a blog with his St. Joe's students called "Ignatian Spirituality: Then, Today, Tommorrow: Dedicated to students at Jesuit Universities" ( It is his hope that a wider conversation about Ignatian values and theological reflection can take place in the world of Jesuit education via the blogosphere. Rickards has been plased with the slow, but promising start of this blog as a tool for learning in his class, as well as others....

The latest portals of Internet communication are new frontiers for the Jesuits and the Church. They present opportunities for rapid and vast dissemination of information that can aid the spiritual life of many. They also present challenges and risks. This virtual world creates new personal experiences that may be no less real than face-to-face communication. These experiences can help the world of Jesuit education and Ignatian spirituality. This communication can also create painful mishaps.

Saint Joseph's as a community will explore more of this new Internet frontier in a first-of-its-kind event. The Catholic Intellectual Series will gather three of the world's most popular Catholic bloggers to discuss the use of these continuous, online conversations that engage about 30,000 individuals a week. The event on March 20 includes Amy Welborn, author of the blog "Open Book" (; Rocco Palmo, author of the blog "Whispers in the Loggia" (, and Grant Gallicho, Associate Editor, Commonweal and their blog ( The event will be hosted by Philadelphia's own Bill McGarvey, a popular musician and the editor of If you feel that you need to understand more about the new media then you may want to attend this event called "Ecclesia Virtualis: Catholics in the Blogosphere" on Tuesday, March 20, 2007 at 7:30 p.m. in the Chapel of Saint Joseph.
Looking forward to finding some of you yokels there -- and, for those at a distance, the event will be accessible online, most likely as an on-demand stream posted shortly after the fact. the meantime, off to DC.