Photo of the Election of Pope Francis, 2013
Let me say that I am definitely not in favor of letting young ones play video games on their smart phones or tablets during the Mass, as much as I am for those who have the audacity to bring their venti Caramel Macchiatos to sip on. Phones and other electronic devices should definitely be set to silent to prevent distractions—setting them to vibrate is still a distraction to you if you can feel it vibrating in your purse or your pocket every time you get a text message or a Facebook notification.
What I am suggesting here is something that Fr. David Loftus said a few years back that really challenged me to think about this. If we are all about mission, evangelization, and outreach, why do we not take advantage of one of the most powerful tools we have? Why don’t we encourage the use of smart phones during—or at least before and after—the Mass? When else do you have a crowd of people gathered in one place with the ability to expand the reach of our message exponentially at the tap of a button?
Imagine the Possibilities for Outreach
Just imagine if people were encouraged to take out their phones before Mass and check-in on Facebook, letting all their friends and family know that they are at church. And what if we suggested that people record a video of the homily and post it on their timeline? At the end of the Mass right before the concluding rite, when we are being sent out into the world to share our faith, what if the priest challenged each of us at that moment to take out our smart phones and send a tweet or a Facebook post with a sentence or two about how we heard God speaking to us that day during the Mass? And as we make our way out of the Church we could post a selfie with the parish priest on Instagram or SnapChat. The possibilities are really endless.
Can you imagine the impact this would have on the Church, especially those millions of former Catholics, lapsed Catholics, and agnostics that we could reach? And all of that would be before we even step foot outside of the Church!
A Challenge to Take Up the Christian Mission
It will feel weird at first, because we are so accustomed to hiding our phones at Church. But it would be an amazing tool of evangelization if properly implemented. It would get the younger Mass-goers involved in a way that they are used to communicating. And it would assure that we are all paying attention during Mass and actively participating in our Christian mission to proclaim Christ to the nations.
In every other aspect of our lives our phones have become a natural extension of us. It is a tool that we use to connect with others, to share our lives. Why not take advantage of a tool that almost everybody is already using to bring Jesus to all of those who need Him, especially those who don’t know that they do?
How do you feel about using smart phones to share your faith? Would you feel comfortable using social media during Mass to evangelize?