I just returned from Communications Day 2011 in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. It was a full-day event for parish, school and ministry leaders about sharing the Good News via Social and Digital media.
I’d never been to Minnesota. Unfortunately, I was only there for one day, but I must say the weather was perfect and the people were lovely and welcoming. I was honored to be one of the presenters, along with my good friend Lisa Hendey and some other speakers you may have heard of, like Lino Rulli (The Catholic Guy), John Allen Jr. (author and journalist), Paul Henderson (USCCB) and Lou Carbone (“experience” engineer).
What I liked about the event:
1) It was a really good mix of various perspectives on communication within and as the Church.
2) It was fun.
3) It was extremely well organized, managed and emceed.
4) It was well attended. I think there were between 500-600 parish/school/ministry leaders from around the diocese and neighboring dioceses.
5) I enjoyed great conversation and a meal (or two) with some wonderful people. I also got to drink a beer (or two) with Lino Rulli and Lisa Hendey. I got to see a picture of Lino’s friend Goob.
6) I didn’t say “uhm,” too much. I don’t think. And I yammered on too long about the same thing only a few times.
7) I got to hear Lino sing.
8) I was reminded that the work of the Church is filled with messy interruptions because we’re messy people. And the only reason our Church is still here as a final bastion of truth, goodness and beauty is because God loves us enough to have made it so. And I love it.
9) I was also reminded that there are a lot of people out there who need the Church and don’t know it. And that one thoughtful gesture you make today to change that person’s “experience” of the Church could change that person’s life forever (literally).
10) I was affirmed in the fact that there are a lot of dedicated and amazing ground-level leaders in our Church who don’t get new media - but want to, because they know it will help the Church.
11) I was also affirmed in the fact that there are some diocesan leaders out there now who do get it and are working to make it better.
12) Finally, I love that the Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis, The Catholic Spirit and the coalition of those who put the event on are planning to continue the event in the future. They are also putting together a group of people from their diocese who want to come together, share best practices and help each other better communicate and build relationships in our Church. And particularly via the use of new and social media, of course.
I would encourage you to tell your own diocese to contact the Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis and ask them how to duplicate an event like this in your own diocese (this event was done very well). Every diocese should have one every year. And every diocese should be recruiting attendees from it to build a year-round community that collaborates and shares best practices as you forge ahead as pioneers on the digital continent - together.
There are many more of these kinds of events to come in the Church. And that’s a very good thing.
You can check out the tweets from the event by clicking here (#CommDay11). And you can take a look at the setup here. National Catholic Register