Apologize and Don't Be Sorry!

A site dedicated to thinking through the common objections to the Catholic Faith as well as questions of a general religious nature.

Location: Prague, Oklahoma, United States

Just your basic 21st century priest trying to bring the Gospel to everyone who will give it a fair hearing.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Catholic Podcasting: Catch the Evangelization Wave!

     “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”  We usually associate those words with the Christmas season, but thanks to the industry of Staples, that phrase now evokes images of back-to-school.  In my family, everyone knew that back-to-school was my Christmas.  Walking down the aisles at TG&Y, admiring the rainbow kaleidoscope of unsharpened #2 pencils, coveting a new Trapper Keeper, looking forward to ripping into a new package of loose-leaf paper filled me with glee.  Face it: I loved school.  The totally amazing potentialities contained within the covers of my textbooks always left me giddy with anticipation.
     However, this is not a paean to my school days.  There is a connection to our lives as Catholics.  Unfortunately, many Catholics act as though that because they are adults they don’t have anything more to learn about the Catholic Faith.  Some will think this is an unfair characterization but my experience suggests something different.  Many Catholics will confide to me that they wish they were better informed, but when I suggest a book, a bible study, or a formation opportunity, they respond with “Oh, I couldn’t do that.”  The excuses vary but at the base, they are excuses.  With our kids going back to school and going back to religious education, I want to encourage all Catholics, especially parents, to do likewise.  We live in a time when it has never been easier to get your hands on the best Catholic information and formation.  This week, I want to talk about the high-tech solutions.
     You see them everywhere you go, a person bopping their head to inaudible music, pumped directly into their brain from their personal MP3 player.  These devices are made to play digital audio files which allow an enormous amount of data to be played back at your convenience.  For example, I own a 4 gigabyte capacity IPod.  That translates to 120 hours of music I can take with me.  This device doesn’t take up a great deal of space; my IPod is no bigger than the palm of my hand.  The versatility of this technology inspired various Catholics to try a new way to spread the Gospel.  They are podcasting, bringing the truth of Christ to everyone through the Internet.
     A podcast is an internet radio programming to which one subscribes.  A piece of software called an aggregator downloads new files to your computer as they are posted by the author of the podcast.  Then from your computer, you can play them either on your computer or download them to your MP3 player and take it with you.  Imagine how different your commute is when you would take Catholic programming with you.  Your car becomes a portable classroom or a chapel on wheels, rather than enduring the din of the morning radio shows.  Your time on the road becomes a prime opportunity to grow in your Faith.  Personally, these Catholic podcasts have made the five hour round trip from Oklahoma City to my parish in Alva much more bearable.  They allow me to make good use of time that might otherwise be wasted.
     There are podcasts for every taste and need.  Here are just a few examples.  Since this is an apologetics column, I have to give first mention to Catholic Answers Live.  Karl Keating started Catholic Answers to provide information on how to defend and explain the Catholic Faith.  I use Catholic Answers almost daily in my work, so being able to receive their radio program on my IPod is quite helpful.  You can subscribe at www.catholic.com.  For the Catholic families, I recommend you check out the Rosary Army podcast.  Greg and Jennifer Willits began this apostolate to promote the making and distribution of all-twine knotted rosaries.  Their podcast, however, deals with the struggles of a young couple as they strive to remain faithful to the Catholic Faith while working and raising their boys.  I am often inspired and amused by what they have to say.  You can subscribe at www.rosaryarmy.com.  For the young and the young-at-heart, you could look up the best in Catholic contemporary music at Catholic Rockers.  George Leite takes listeners on a tour of the contemporary music scene through interviews and featured performers.  You can subscribe at www.catholicjukebox.com.    You can also subscribe to these and other Catholic podcasts via the music store on ITunes.  Podcast Alley provides a comprehensive list as well.  The podcasts mentioned here are small sample of the excellent and enriching material that’s out there.
     As with any good thing, it takes time to grow in our understanding of the Faith.  St. Thomas Aquinas observed that for the vast majority of people, learning the Faith takes hard work and dedicated time.  However, spare time is something in short supply.  It’s funny.  Even as the number of time-saving devices increases, our time to enjoy leisure activities decreases.  Spending time pouring over many a quaint and curious volume of Catholic lore is not in the cards.  But everyone could listen to good programming while driving the car or working around the house.  By taking advantage of podcasts, you can fill out your knowledge and hopefully your love of our Lord and His Holy Church.


Blogger Suneela said...

I recently commented on that tune being used as back-to-school advertising too. So weird how one thing can inspire very different thoughts. Good post, btw.

6:11 PM  

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