A screenshot of Father Cuyos taken during the ‘webinar’. Image provided by Winifred Loh
SINGAPORE – Videos are modern-day parables that can help proclaim God’s word, a priest told youth communicators from the parish of St. Mary of the Angels.
Besides entertaining viewers, online videos can communicate values, elicit response, stimulate discussion, and “have the power to reinforce, alter, or challenge our beliefs, values and hopes”, said Father Stephen Cuyos via webcam.
Father Cuyos, who belongs to the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, was the main speaker for the ‘webinar’ (online seminar) titled “Church 2.0 New media at the service of the Word” held Mar 20 for Potter and Scribe, St. Mary of the Angels parish’s media ministry.
Father Cuyos works full-time with the Manila-based Communication Foundation for Asia. The Catholic foundation is dedicated towards developing communication that educates people on social conscience through print and audio-visual media publications.
In addition to facilitating media workshops, Father Cuyos creates websites and preaches at retreats.
The ‘webinar’ taught the six youth communicators present how to use new media to fulfil their mission to make disciples of all nations. They learnt that Web 2.0 is use of the Internet in ways which allow two-way information sharing and interaction between users. This is in contrast to Web 1.0 where users can only view information one-way on websites.
During the session, Father Cuyos encouraged the youths to make use of social networking websites such as Facebook to proclaim God’s word.
Examples he gave included writing Christ-centred messages on one’s ‘wall’, installing Bible-based Facebook ‘apps’ (applications), embedding inspiring and spiritually uplifting photos and videos, and posting Church-related and Christian-related links.
But more importantly, Father Cuyos emphasised that one’s profile must proudly proclaim one’s Christian faith.
Facebook games such as Farmville can help inculcate values such as patience, neighbourliness, giving and receiving, as well as hard work, said Father Cuyos. For instance, growing crops in Farmville takes time, helping neighbours to “kill weeds, scare off crows, clean leaves” helps one become a better neighbour, and giving out their Farmville gifts might see them receiving bonus points in return.
The youths told CatholicNews that this is their first time attending a ‘webinar’. They describe the experience as “refreshing, something new, informative and fruitful”.
Nicolette Teo, 16, said that it was her first time hearing about Bible-based ‘apps’ since she rarely sees them.
Another participant, Rachael Yap, 16, found it interesting that Father Cuyos could link Christian values to Farmville. “I never knew that a Facebook application could embody Christian values,” she said.
The youths agree that the ‘webinar’ has opened their eyes to new ways of sharing the faith through online media.
Adrain Wang, 16, said: “As most teenagers spend their time on computers, we can seize the opportunity to spread the word of the Lord through websites or even social networking sites.”
“As a teenager myself, I will also click on the links with emphasis on Christianity on Facebook. This proves that Father Cuyos is right to use technology to spread the Good News of the Lord,” he continued.
“With everyone using the Internet now, we should use it to share our faith,” Nicolette added.
The ‘webinar’ is part of the series of workshops that the parish of St. Mary of the Angels has organised for youths to learn new media skills, and to discover how media can be linked to their faith.
By Darren Boon
Written with information by Winifred Loh