Digital Discipleship

    Digital Discipleship.  What does it mean for today’s youth?  How is it fostered?

    This was the theme of the 2015 Wisdom and Witness Symposium.  Nearly 60 middle to high school religion teachers, campus ministers, administrators, and parish youth ministers gathered at the University of Dayton for several days in June to explore specific strategies for engaging our young people in the Catholic faith amidst a society abundantly filled with digital tools. Sponsored by the NCEA Secondary Schools and Religious Education Department, in conjunction with the UD Center for Catholic Education, the symposium sought to bridge the inescapable world of the internet with faith formation, and to deepen the understanding of self as a person of faith and a Catholic educator in the current context, particularly the impact of the digital age.

    image of susan furgesonSr. Angela Ann Zukowski, MHSH, D.Min, Director of the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives/Professor in the Department of Religious, University of Dayton, opened  with a thought provoking presentation about how to maintain a human link between the virtual world in which we live and our human reality.  She offered thoughts about nurturing the spiritual life of our youth while being immersed in a digital milieu and about helping teens navigate the digital world in faithful, responsible ways.

    Dr. Cecile Brennan, Associate Professor/Chair, Department of Counseling, John Carroll University, helped identify developmental considerations for those who are catechists for religious education.   She spoke about promoting spiritual and emotional wellness through Catholic high school education and campus ministry.  Each school should have wellness planning and reflective practice to feed the inner spiritual self.  

    A virtual panel comprised of Nancy Caramanico, World Meeting of Families and an instructional technology specialist, and Dr. Kristin Witte, coordinator of Catholic educational engagement at Catholic Relief Services, discussed the importance of teaching digital youth to develop global sensitivities, including parish and school collaboration.

    Participants were inspired to return to their sites as teachers, campus ministers, youth ministers and service learning coordinators and implement new resources, knowledge, and technological methodologies to speak to adolescents with a fresh voice in a digital world infused by wisdom of the gospel message.

    Check out a few other photos from the event!