By David Karas | Correspondent
Father Edward H. Blanchett, pastor in Visitation Parish, Brick, encouraged some 30 young Catholics to do something out of the ordinary at a recent Mass: to take out their phones and start texting.
Father Blanchett was the celebrant of a Young Adult Mass hosted Oct. 4 in his parish, the second installment of a series of such Masses and gatherings sponsored by the diocesan Department of Youth, Marriage and Family Life. One of his goals for the Mass was to engage with the young adult parishioners “where they are” – on their phones.
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The young men and women who used text messaging to sign up for notifications were then surprised throughout the Mass with pre-prepared texts that Father Blanchett had put together – all part of something he calls a “Push Mass.”
The first message included a link to the readings for the weekday Mass, and the second pointed the young people to an online biography on St. Francis of Assisi – the topic of Father Blanchett’s homily as Oct. 4 was the saint’s feast day. A third message sent after Communion was an essay Father Blanchett penned to provide answers to common questions about the Mass, as well as a podcast that he thought would be of interest.
“Throughout the Mass, I was trying to be discreet in sending a pre-prepared text that would go out to people,” he said. “It is also something that we are going to do moving forward – keeping in touch with parish and diocesan events.”
The initiative, he explained, is designed to find ways to connect with young adult Catholics and parishioners through the mediums where they spend much of their time – in this case, on their cell phones. Father Blanchett has already been sending weekly messages to members of his parish, and he said that many have grown to look forward to the regular communication.
The Oct. 4 young adult Mass included participation from area parishes, including St. Anthony Claret, Lakewood; St. Mary of the Lake, Lakewood; and St. Dominic, Brick. The series is designed with the goal of uniting young adult Catholics around the Diocese of Trenton, and the next installment will be held Nov. 10 in St. Rose Parish, Belmar.
Visit www.dioceseoftrenton.org/yam for more Young Adult events.[[In-content Ad]]