Media Literacy

#BlesstheMedia: Retweeting the Gospel | Theology on Tap Talk

I had the great privilege of delivering a talk on media evangelization to Richmond’s chapter of Theology on Tap. Here’s a recording of the presentation:

“The machine, the microphone, the screen are our pulpit; the press, the production room, the screening hall and transmission center are like our church. The temptations are many, but we shall make ours the words of Paul: ‘I do all things for the Gospel.'” -Bl. James Alberione

Some notes from the talk:

Vatican II situates its discussion of the means of social communication / media around the mission of PREACHING

Jesus is the one MEDIAtor between God and Man — He is God the Father’s MEDIA / communication of Love to the entire world. Baptized Christians communicate the presence of Christ for the salvation of the world, and thus become “media” through their life in the one Mediator. All good media is a participation in the MEDIAtion of Christ.

Bl. James Alberione warns against 2 deceptions:

  1. We can’t just preach against the media out of fearful reactionism. Just because the Internet is scary and new for a lot of people doesn’t mean we can’t learn how to use it well.
  2. We can’t afford to hesitate unnecessarily in utilizing these powerful means of communication, because our enemy the devil is pouncing on them. We can’t give him free rein!

How do we best use media? Mary is our model!
(A meditation on the Joyful Mysteries and Media Evangelization)

  1. Annunciation — Receptivity to God. Root your media evangelization is a living life of prayer! 
  2. Visitation — We “visit” our family and friends on social media, we make haste to help them, serve them, bring them Jesus!
  3. Birth of Jesus — Mary gives birth to the Lord, and soon enough people begin to arrive. She makes him available, and the Shepherds come adore. The Magi bring their gifts and worship. With media evangelization, we “give birth” to Christ, and then we make him available to those who follow us online
  4. Presentation — We have no idea what will happen when we “present” Jesus on social media. Some will respond enthusiastically like Simeon does! “My own eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared in the sight of all people!”
  5. Finding of the Boy Jesus — When we get lost, afraid, confused, or overwhelmed on social media, we can always find the Lord where he’s always been… in the Father’s house. We can and should take breaks from our online presence to be with the Lord.

What does good media evangelization do?

  1. Confuses — Because Christians are to use these platforms differently, their content will confuse people… “Why are these Catholics not posting snarky, vulgar things on their Twitters? Something is different about them!”
  2. Convicts — Our content should be bold and filled with zeal, but in such a way that people can hear it and be led to the realization that God is what matters most.
  3. Converts — Our content should be persuasive and winsome. It should help change people’s hearts and minds
  4. Catechizes —  Our content should inform people about doctrinal and moral teachings. It should provide a bedrock of formation for those curious about their faith.
  5. Communion — All good media is rooted in, and leads back to communion with the Lord, most especially in the Holy Eucharist. If your social media use does not lead you to communion, then CUT IT OFF.


By Fr. Anthony Ferguson

Fr. Anthony Ferguson is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond. He is currently assigned at St. Andrew's Catholic Church in Roanoke, VA.

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