Continued live-blogging from the Vatican blogging meeting:
In his 2010 World Communications Day message, Pope Benedict XVI spoke specifically to priests. Titling his message "The Priest and Pastoral Ministry in a Digital World," the Pope encouraged his brother priests to be active online, to use new media, and not to dismiss the online world as just a mere fad.
Fr. Roderick Vonhogen is one media-savvy priest who has heeded this call, a perfect example of the "priest in a digital world." Though he's based out of the Netherlands, Fr. Vonhogen impacts people from around the globe through his many podcasts. The podcasting network he started, SQPN, is heard all over the world and reaches thousands of Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
Yet among his brother priests, his work hasn't been completely welcomed. Fr. Roderick explained that fellow priests claim, "You waste your time with that hobby. You should be preaching in the church!"
"But, if I preach in church," Fr. Roderick likes to respond, "I reach two hundred people--maybe. And I know them all. They come to church on Sunday, they're already Catholic, and I'm not even sure if they stay awake while I preach!" But online, Fr. Roderick points out, he can reach 20,000 people at a time, people who never darken the doors of a church yet are still interested in religious matters.
"I want to be shepherd for people who really need one, not for the people who already have one. Using new media is basically like building a parish, but one that is worldwide and one that reaches the lost sheep. I want to be a shepherd to the digital world."
With that desire and his podcasting success, Fr. Roderick has already answered the Pope's call. And, as a premier digital shepherd, he's given the Church a great example.
Don't forget that you can watch the live stream of the blogging conference at SQPN!