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|Missionary Sisters of St Columban|
By June Edgar Asok
5th Consolation Prize Winner
The author is in Fourth Year Section Einstein in Iligan City National High School (ICNHS).
I have a friend who is a net fanatic and always updated to the newest gadgets in town. He also owns numerous social networking sites accounts. Despite his obsession with web surfing and online gaming, he knows how to moderate himself, such as not going home late and not spending too much money on the net. And at the same time, this friend of mine is very religious, a diehard Catholic. This can be reflected in his Friendster’s layouts and backgrounds, in the messages he sends to his friends through e-mail, and the way he talks. And as an active Youth for Christ member, he is also our ‘preacher’, both on the internet and in real life.
Then as I think about it, I realize that it is possible to unite the liberal digital technology and the much solemn Christian faith as one. The two concepts seem to be in contrast with each other but these two things can be parallel if you are going to harness the good effects of digital technology in spreading the Gospel itself digitally. Then this thing can serve as a great advantage to the Christian faith then. But how can this thing be realized?
Our generation nowadays, which many consider the ‘digital generation’, is liberated enough, especially the youth, in this new digital technology that is rampant in our society at the present time. This can be done with an intense will, enthusiasm and open-heartedness to other people. But not all people are like this? Yes it’s true and the Pope himself looks at it differently. Since he believes that those qualities mentioned are mostly found in the youth nowadays, then he wants to challenge the youth, Catholic youth, to carry evangelization to these modernized lands. This thing was mentioned in his speech in celebration of the World Communication Day. Spreading the ‘Word of God’ especially in this ‘digital continent’ as most people call it, despite the differences in culture, beliefs, religion, and nationalities is not an easy task. In doing this we must consider these various factors.
First you must recognize the pros and cons of the digital continent, and as much as possible stay away from cons. Because of the undeniable rapid development in the advanced digital technology that makes human life much easier in the field of communication, transportation and many more, we can consider this digital continent a blessing. Note that this ‘blessing’ the digital continent offers can be a cause of destruction if used improperly or abused and that is commonly happening nowadays. Youths must deny those bad influences of digital technologies to carry out the Pope’s challenge successfully.
Another thing Catholic youth must consider is their vulnerability and common weaknesses in using digital technology. Youths’ aggressive manners and idealistic minds serve as a common subject in any kind of corruption that may affect the task that they are about to do. But these weaknesses of the youth must not serve as a hindrance to materialize the Pope’s challenge. And as a youth myself, I would proudly take up the Pope’s challenge as my responsibility that is to share, deliver and elaborate the Gospel of the Lord digitally. I must take up the challenge to guide back the lost ones, to cheer up the oppressed and sad and bring hope to the hopeless ones. And as an achiever and a student, I should not let any unreasonable thing suppress my will in doing the evangelization. My family’s economic status will not affect my intense self-confidence, vigorous self-esteem and mental gift to take up one of my biggest challenges in my life, and that is the Pope’s challenge.
And this responsibility loaded not just on me but on all the Catholic youth will not take this as a responsibility nor a challenge, but a mission to accomplish. Expect me with my friend to work hand in hand in doing our own part, our responsibility and our mission regarding the Pope’s challenge. How about you, why don’t you join us?