Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Social media guidelines - from the bishops

The U.S. bishops recently issued some "best practice" guidelines for the use of social media by folks in the Catholic Church. In case you were wondering, that means Facebook and Twitter and Youtube and blogs like this one--web-based ways to keep up with others. If you'd like to read more about the guidelines, you can find them here, on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' website - a good site to know.

For the record, here on The Georgia Bulletin blog, we follow the Code of Conduct shown on the USCCB’s Facebook page, as follows: “All posts and comments should be marked by Christian charity and respect for the truth. They should be on topic and presume the good will of other posters. Discussion should take place primarily from a faith perspective. No ads please.”

Our blog is a way to build community, and we welcome you to ours.

--Mary Anne, editor

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I write like ... a literary giant.

I’ve been writing for newspapers since 1993. When I tried out as a cub reporter for a six-day a week newspaper, my first story was about a small village in New York testing a new recycling truck and how residents should separate their trash. (Sadly, I didn’t keep copies of that engrossing story.)

But from such humble roots, great things have come. That is if you believe a website called “I Write Like.”

The site, put together by Coding Robots, takes a sample of writing and by clicking on the ‘analyze’ button and out comes your literary twin. The computer software looks at word choice, writing style, number of words, commas, and semicolons in sentences, number of sentences with quotation marks and then announces what well known author you write like.

I tested three stories: a rough draft of a future story compared me to Kurt Vonnegut; a story from earlier this month about Sudanese bishops visiting Atlanta could have been penned by Kurt Vonnegut and a 2009 story about Aux. Bishop Luis Zarama, James Joyce.

Not too shabby.

I write like
Kurt Vonnegut

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

--Andrew, reporter

Monday, July 12, 2010

Bishops conference issues guidelines on social media

Social media are the fastest growing form of communication in the United States, especially among youth and young adults. Our Church cannot ignore it, but at the same time we must engage social media in a manner that is safe, responsible, and civil.
--Social Media Guidelines - United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Church leaders are taking seriously how social media can be harnessed to advance the gospel message. Last week, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops issued guidelines for using social media.

With everything from a primer on Web 2.0 to how to set up a blog, the guidelines are geared toward parishes, ministries, church offices and even bishops.

It has a lot of good tips to consider so if you are just putting your big toe in the Internet pond, take some time to read it here.

Faith leaders, starting with Pope Benedict XIV, know the importance of communications transformation. (Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory does his part when he occasionally tweets at the archdiocese's Twitter account: @archatl)

The guidelines encourage people to read the messages from the pope to mark World Communications Day, including the 43rd message and the most recent 44th World Communications Day Message.

--Andrew, reporter

The art above is a word cloud from the document.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A sneak peek at stories in July 8th edition

Rev. Mr. Llane Briese, Thang Pham, Carlos Vargas, Thomas Zahuta, Michael Silloway and Mario Lopez, from left, prostrate themselves on the altar during a moment of prayer for the candidates. Photo by Michael Alexander. (More photos here.)

The Georgia Bulletin will be showing up in your mail box in the next couple of days.

Here's some of the stories you can look forward to reading:

Ordination of six new priests:
ATLANTA—Linda Koerner remembers when a young Llane Briese started coming to the youth group at St. John Neumann Church in Lilburn just a few years ago. From the very beginning, she recognized something special in the teen, so it came as no surprise when she heard he was discerning a vocation to the priesthood.
Koerner and her husband, Greg, came to the ordination Mass at the Cathedral of Christ the King on June 26, a celebration that welcomed six new priests into the Archdiocese of Atlanta. “It has been a privilege to watch him grow,” said Koerner as she waited for the Mass to begin. “Llane loves life … and embraces everything in the Catholic faith.”
Along with Rev. Mr. Briese, five other transitional deacons—Mario A. López, Thang Minh Pham, Michael R. Silloway, Carlos E. Vargas and Thomas Zahuta—processed into the Cathedral on the warm Saturday morning to the delight of their teary-eyed families and friends. Smiles quickly appeared on the candidates’ faces as they processed in amidst camera flashes.
Sudanese Catholics celebrate with three bishops from their homeland

STONE MOUNTAIN—Sitting in colorful plastic seats in an indoor basketball court were members of the Lost Boys, the group of then youngsters who walked for hundreds of miles to escape war, minefields and violence that destroyed their Sudanese villages.
Now, the group is entering their 30s. They’ve landed jobs and made lives for themselves here. Among them were Diadi “Lino” Momo, 31, of Atlanta and Duang “Victor” Deng, 31, of Birmingham, Ala.
Despite the wars that drove them from family and into refugee camps and later into exile, they took it to heart when three visiting Catholic bishops from Sudan urged them and other former refugees to contribute to their homeland’s future.
The peril and promise of Sudan were at the forefront of the minds of the estimated 100 women, men and children, as they gathered on Sunday, June 26, in prayer with the bishops, at Corpus Christi Church.
“There is hope and there is fear,” said Momo, who now works in the shipping business.
Catholic artist Salvador Dali at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta
ATLANTA—What to make of Salvador Dali?
A painter. A sculptor. A photographer. A jeweler. Embraced by the public, but once dismissed by art critics.
The interpretation of the work of the late Spanish Catholic artist continues to evolve, much as his paintings challenged people to look at the world anew.
The High Museum of Art hosts a major exhibit, “Salvador Dali: The Late Work,” opening Aug. 7. It will feature more than 100 pieces of work done by the man after he split with the surrealist movement. The exhibit offers pieces rarely seen in the United States, including “Christ of St. John of the Cross,” which has not been on view here in 50 years.
See photos of the events and other features in the newspaper here and here.

Andrew, reporter

Friday, July 2, 2010

Running the race

As someone who falls famously and often, I marvel at the Peachtree Road Race.

To see that many people of such a wide variety of ages and sizes running en masse—in the heat of July—with, for the most part, big smiles on their faces, and waving at the camera, leaves me wondering if I am from another planet.

It’s one thing to see the gazelle-like strides of the sinewy champions who lead the pack. I imagine the city skyline dropping away and easily see them crossing miles of savannah grasslands somewhere in the world where walking and running are not hobbies, but travel.

It’s another thing for me to watch the thousands of everyday people who clearly don’t have perfect physiques bopping along at their own pace in the race, folks who will be in the grocery store or the mall or bumper to bumper traffic the day after.

I admire them so much. I get cheered up watching them. Every year I think, maybe some year I can walk at the very back of the pack, where, when I trip, I won’t be trampled by thousands of upright people. And then I think, get real! Better stick to mall walking.

This year, something of a rarity, July 4 is on a Sunday, so the race occurs on that day when our thoughts are particularly on God.

It brought to mind a thought I had once while preparing a talk on the commandments. I was studying Psalm 119, which is the longest of all the psalms and which extols the wisdom and beauty of God’s life-giving laws.

The verse that captured my imagination was “Lightly I run in the way of your commands.” And the phrase that follows is translated variously as “for you open my docile heart” or “for you enlarge my heart” or “make broad my heart.”

I thought then, and I think again today, that this is a challenge all people qualify for: even, perhaps especially, the stumbling.

And in my mind’s eye, I think what it would look like if this passion for running was replicated in conforming to God's ways as the psalmist envisioned it thousands of years ago. I imagine wave upon wave of people, as far as the eye can see, of all shapes and sizes and ages, coming down the road, and their faces are covered with joy. All of them are running lightly, because God has done his work enlarging their hearts and trained them in his way.

Gretchen Keiser, Editor

Sudanese Catholics joined together to celebrate Mass

Sudanese Catholics joined together to celebrate Mass on Sunday, June 27.

Leading the prayers were three bishops from the east African country who visited Atlanta as part of a trip to the United States.

I wrote about what the visit meant to the community, many who escaped their war-torn native lands as refugees. They talked about walking for hundreds of miles to escape burning villages and detouring around vast minefields as if that were normal. Look for the story in next week's Georgia Bulletin.

Meanwhile, here's a short video shot at the Mass with a focus on the choir.