We at CatholicMom.com are thrilled to be supporting our good friend and fellow blogger and Catholic new media enthusiast Brandon Vogt in his quest to bring 2000 Catholic eBook libraries to seminarians in Africa. Please read the information below and join me in making a pledge to be a part of this amazing initiative. If each of our readers would simply give a small gift, we’d have plenty of resources to meet the goal of the Africa eBook Project. Here is an introduction to the project from author Brandon Vogt:
Africa eBook Project Background
A few months ago I began an online friendship with a priest in Cameroon named Fr. Linus Patem. Fr. Linus is doing postgraduate work at the Catholic University of Central Africa. One day while scanning the articles at New Advent, he stumbled across my blog.
He read some of my posts, reached out through email, and we quickly hit it off. We talked about books, theology, and seminary formation. But while discussing the writings of C.S. Lewis, a mutual favorite, Fr. Linus admitted that he had only read one Lewis book. That’s not because he doesn’t like Lewis—he does—but because there are no other titles available.
In Cameroon, quality religious books are scarce. This is especially true in the seminaries. As Fr. Linus says:
“One of the key problems the Church in Cameroon is facing, as in many parts of Africa, is that Christians do not read,. And if they do, it’s very thin. Most know very little about the Catholic faith and the situation is worst among the young people.”
So Fr. Linus and I began to wonder how we could get good books into the hands of Cameroon Catholics—particularly the seminarians. We considered building a library of used paperback books. We thought about buying new books through Amazon. We even considered delivering ebooks packed on USB drives.
However, each of those options was prohibitively expensive. We eventually decided that the best strategy—the quickest, easiest, and cheapest—was to use pack ebooks onto CD’s, through which we could deliver hundreds of Catholic titles very efficiently.
Classic titles by G.K. Chesterton, St. Therese of Lisieux, and Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman
Modern books on preaching, new media, and the priesthood, including several written by Pope Benedict himself
Right now, we’re planning to provide one CD to each of the 2,000 seminarians in Cameroon. This will give each future-priest a wealth of Tradition wherever they go, regardless of the computer they’re using or whether it has internet access.
To produce the CD’s I’ve been working with Lighthouse Catholic Media, who will be able to design, create, and ship them to Africa for about $4,000—roughly $2 per CD. Now, I could probably raise the money by working with a large charity, however I’ve chosen a different route.
I want this project to be an experiment in crowd-sourced solidarity. So this June I’ll be launching a digital campaign to solicit micro-donations from other online Catholics, drawing them into this movement.
The tagline is simple: for just $2, you can strengthen a future priest and give him access to the entire Catholic Tradition.
Fr. Linus plans to email pictures of the seminarians receiving their CDs, which means the donors will see the seminarian who was helped by their gift. Through this, our movement won’t be just one more faceless act of charity. It will be a true act of solidarity and an innovative work of mercy.
In terms of raising the money, I don’t think we’ll have a problem. With my blog and social media platform, and those of several blogging friends, we should raise the funds pretty quickly.
If everything works out, this might be the tip of an even bigger iceberg. Several people, including friends at the Pontifical Missions Society, have suggested we expand the movement to all the seminaries in Africa—and even the greater world. So we’ll see where God takes this.
If you have any questions about the project I’d love to talk, either through email or over the phone. Thanks again for all your help and support!
Bishop Christopher Coyne
Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis
“Brandon Vogt is at the cutting edge of using the Internet and social media as a tool for evangelization. His blog, The Thin Veil, is one that I subscribe to as a useful place to find good information on how to use these new tools in order to spread the Good News.”
Father Robert Barron, STD
Francis Cardinal George Professor of Faith and Culture at University of St. Mary of the Lake, creator of the “Catholicism” series, founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries
“Brandon Vogt has emerged as an important voice in the New Evangelization. He brings his energy, enthusiasm, and prodigious intellectual gifts to the Catholic conversation and demonstrates how social media can be used effectively to advance the mission of the Gospel and extend to the culture the invitation to know Christ in his Church.”
President of Our Sunday Visitor, President of Catholic Press Association
“Brandon Vogt is among the best of a new generation. A convert to the faith, he is the author-editor of the best book around on the Church and new media. As an author, blogger, teacher and apologist, he brings to the faith a zeal tempered by charity, a faithfulness to the Magisterium and an intuitive grasp of the New Evangelization. I give Brandon my full support.”
“Brandon Vogt is knowledgeable, passionate, faithful, and, at 25 years old, is himself a member of the generation that most frequently turns to the Internet for spiritual guidance. I believe that God is going to do big things through his work.”