Why Catholic? news from the Archdiocese of Louisville

Program Expands to Facebook, Blog

Marnie McAllister, Record Assistant Editor

People who are already taking part in Why Catholic? and those who want to learn more about the faith formation program will find new resources on a Why Catholic? Facebook page and a Why Catholic? blog sponsored by the Archdiocese of Louisville.

Both were officially launched Monday, March 28, under the guidance of the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Shayne Duvall, the coordinator of evangelization, and Butch Ekstrom, associate director of faith formation.

Why Catholic? is a faith-formation program sponsored by RENEW International that began with Lent and will be offered in two six-week sessions per year in the Archdiocese of Louisville for four years. About 9,000 people in the Archdiocese of Louisville are taking part.

Duvall and Ekstrom said they hope people are ready to share their experiences, photos and questions through the new online components of Why Catholic?

“We’re trying to extend electronically through social media the Why Catholic? conversation,” said Ekstrom during an interview Monday. Ekstrom, a contributor to another blog for the archdiocese’s Office of Lifelong Formation and Education, will contribute to the Why Catholic? blog and Facebook page.

Facebook users can find the Why Catholic? page by typing “Louisville Why Catholic” in the search bar. To receive updates from the Facebook page, click on the “like” button.

Those who want to read the blog can type the following address into their browser’s address bar: www.whycatholic-louisville.blogspot.com. Those who want to receive notices about the blog can click “follow.”

Ekstrom noted that some people are intimidated by these tools, while others feel they’re too busy to keep up with them.

“I would encourage people to give it a try and figure out how relatively simple it is and discover the positive power that can come with this communication,” Ekstrom said. “I have been a staunch Facebook user for three years now. I see it as a tool.

“I have made a conscious attempt to try to learn more about other people, embrace different perspectives and try to be open and learn from what others have to share,” said Ekstrom, noting that he is connected to more than 600 people — called “friends” — on Facebook. “We would want our Facebook users to do that as well.”

Shayne Duvall, the coordinator of evangelization, said that he, Ekstrom and a few others plan to take turns updating the blog and Facebook page daily.

Some of the content will include videos about Why Catholic?, music from a Why Catholic? album, excerpts from Why Catholic? readings and from primary sources, such as the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Duvall and Ekstrom said they hope these postings lead to a conversation among readers who can leave comments on the Facebook page and blog. (Comments on both sites must be approved by the administrators, so they will not be posted immediately.)

They also hope readers will share their own stories, photos and questions that flow from their Why Catholic? experiences.

“People interact and people share”?their experiences with one another on a personal level, Duvall noted. “This is another tool that helps them to share their thoughts and experiences of their faith.”

Ekstrom said that the Why Catholic? program uses fairly traditional methods — such as books, CDs, a set curriculum and in-person discussions.

“What we’re trying to do is open the doors even wider to people beyond that,” he added.

For those who haven’t taken part in Why Catholic?, Ekstrom said he hopes the online resources “will give them a taste for what Why Catholic? can be like.”

Duvall noted, “We’ve got 106 parishes participating” in Why Catholic? “But not every parishioner is participating.”

The online resources would help them find ways to connect and, perhaps, become inspired by someone else’s story, Duvall said.

Ekstrom noted that with all things on the World Wide Web, there’s always potential to reach out “beyond this archdiocese.”

“There’s a global perspective, too,” he said, for Internet users around the world who stumble upon the Facebook page and blog. When they do, “We’ll be out there.”

Duvall said he intends to keep the blog and Facebook page active, even during the “off-seasons” of Why Catholic? — intervals between the Lenten and fall sessions.

This article is reproduced with the permission of The Record, the Catholic newspaper of the Archdiocese of Louisville.

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