40 ways to Evangelize through the Internet (full version, with notes)

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1. Pray before going online. Father Zuhlsdorf composed a prayer before logging onto the internet to St Isidore of Seville:

Almighty and eternal God, who created us in Thine image and bade us to seek after all that is good, true and beautiful, especially in the divine person of Thine Only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, that, through the intercession of Saint Isidore, Bishop and Doctor, during our journeys through the internet we will direct our hands and eyes only to that which is pleasing to Thee and treat with charity and patience all those souls whom we encounter. Through Christ our Lord.   Amen.

Father Z also has the prayer in number of other languages. Check them out and his blog here.

2. Develop of list of Catholic websites to check out regularly for inspiration and encouragement. For example: Reconciled to You or Cynthia Trainque at Catholic Exchange. For news I regularly read: News.vaNew AdventLife Site News, Catholic Culture, among many others.

3. Develop a “Blogroll” of Catholic bloggers to read regularly. For example Ryan Bilodeau: Prayer to Pen, Father Barnes: A Shepherd’s Post, or Dr. Angela Franks.

4. Subscribe to the Vatican’s English language YouTube channel. While you are at it, subscribe to mine, too. A few of the other channel’s I subscribe to: Catholic News Service, Father Jason Worthley, and Rome Reports.

5. Read the daily Mass readings. I use an app or the USCCB website daily.

6. Friend or follow bishops/priests/evangelizers on social media. For example: Scott Hahn,  Father Ed RileyBishop CJ Scicluna, Father Mark Murphy, and yours truly (here too).

7. “Check in” at the parishes you attend Mass at.

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8. Share a favorite point from a homily or scripture reading.

9. Keep tabs on Pope Francis.

10. “Tithe” your status updates, likes, tweets, and posts so that at least 10 percent are given to God as faith-based.

11. Share your personal story of how you came to know, love, and serve Our Lord. 1 Peter 3:15 tells us, “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.” Be sure to develop a personal witness.

12. Pray for others whose posts lead one to believe that they are in need. The works of mercy can be practiced online, too!

13. Publicly mention the encouragement you received from other’s posts.

14. Always like or favorite something that you consider helpful to the spiritual life. More engagement means that the post will be visible to more people. Who knew that sharing in the work of evangelization could be as easy as one click?

15. Comment on other people’s content with encouragement/ support. 

17. Use Catholic apps on your smartphone (even if you have to buy them). A few that I use everyday are: Universalis, iPieta, and iBreviary. At some point I will have to do reviews for the ones I use. Check out the blog Catholic and MobileApps for a take on Catholic apps (Ed, can I do a guest post sometime?).

18. Practice the corporal works of mercy through online giving. A great charity endorsed by the US bishops is Catholic Relief Services.

19. Gently correct errors on faith or morals in online discussions.

20. Use content filters to protect one’s family and oneself from internet filth.

21. Read magisterial documents from the Vatican website. Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium is a great place to start!

22. Forgive people who make hurtful comments to you online.

Parable of the Unforgiving Servant (from Wikipedia)

23. Use Amazon affiliate links from Catholic websites to support their mission.

24. Connect with fellow parishioners and community members through social media. Spread the message about stuff like this:

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25. Give condolences and sympathy to people who post their problems.

26. Avoid websites and pages that peddle gossip.

27. Never look at internet pornography. The harmful effects of this to families and individuals cannot be overstated. Bishop Lovedre just wrote a pastoral letter on the issue complete with resources for those who struggle with purity.

28. Avoid websites that peddle crude humor and off-color jokes.

29. Never insult someone or use a slur online. I wrote this post around Christmas, but it is always seasonal to avoid contumely, rash judgment, detraction, and calumny.

30. Never “like” a comment or post that is morally objectionable.

31. Never click on advertisements that plays to person’s base desires. Curiosity has led many down a dark path.

32. Avoid being drawn into Facebook/Twitter conversations that are not cordial.

33. Don’t “unfriend” someone to make a point.

34. Don’t behave differently online than you would in person. Online or off, a person should be authentic.

35. Don’t criticize publicly when you can correct privately. Matthew 18: 15-20 tells us how to respond to brother who sins. Online fraternal correction should follow the same example.

36. Share the status updates, photos, memes of others when they would be helpful to others.

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37. Place a crucifix or holy image near your computer.

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38. Practice custody of the eyes even when using legitimate websites. The eyes are the gateway to the soul, so don’t invite anything in that shouldn’t be there.

39. Retweet the worthy tweets of others.

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40. Offer to help with your parish’s social media and webpage. For example, check out the Facebook page of the parish I was a deacon at.

Thanks for reading!
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