Catholic Techie Brandon Vogt

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You’ve surely heard of Brandon Vogt. I mean, he’s everywhere: blogging, speaking, writing books. He’s all over social media, from Twitter to Facebook (and I’ve even seen him on Pinterest).

He’s heading up projects to help seminarians in Africa and supporting new media usage in the Catholic Church. As if that’s not enough, he’s also promoting Catholic speakers this month.

Brandon is the real deal. He’s funny and charitable, thoughtful and humorous, faith-filled and on-fire.

And you know what I love the most about him? The way he signs his emails:

Your brother,

Brandon

The first time I saw it, I thought it was a fluke. The second time, I couldn’t resist commenting. His response was so genuine, so heartfelt, and so honest that…well, I think I experienced a closer look at what it means to be the Body of Christ.

As we bumble along in our faith journeys, it’s good to be reminded that we’re all in this together. I think you’ll get a sense of that in the interview Brandon graciously gave us for our Catholic Techie feature. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Tell us about yourself in five words or less.

Prayer, family, books: pure joy.

Of your pursuits, what’s your favorite?

I love using new media to evangelize. This takes many forms, from dialoguing with atheists on Facebook, to strengthening Catholics through my blog, to sending 12,000 digital Catholic libraries to Africa. Whatever it looks like, I’m driven to find new ways to evangelize through new media.

When you think of the New Evangelization from your approach as a “Catholic Techie,” what excites you? What makes you want to continue?

What excites me most is the zeal at the top of our Church’s hierarchy. Without this support I think my own work would fall on deaf ears. Surprisingly, perhaps the loudest proponent of new media,¬†and its role in the New Evangelization, has been our 85-year-old pontiff. In his World Communications Day messages Pope Benedict has stressed that this so-called “digital continent” offers limitless possibilities to evangelists of every age and land, and for that reason all Catholics should be present to the extent of their abilities.

(He’s not alone there. Pope Paul VI said that if we Catholics don’t use modern technology to evangelize, we’ll “feel guilty before the Lord.” And Benedict’s predecessor, Bl. John Paul II, in the very last document he wrote before his death, encouraged the faithful to “not be afraid of new technologies!”)

My passion is to set sail on these online seas, while gathering as many Catholics as I can onto the boat, and to venture out with the full zeal of St. Paul, St. Francis Xavier, and Venerable Fulton Sheen. These guys would have given their right arms for a technology like YouTube or WordPress, where you can produce a message and have it seen by thousands of people within seconds.

This type of technology is, in a certain sense, a gift from God for our particular time. We’re at an incredible point in history where the world is spiraling into secularism and the Church is fanning the flame of mission. The Internet is the supreme place those two forces crash and I’m thrilled to be part of the collision.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your work?

It’s those times–those very rare times–when a person affirms that my work played some small role in their conversion. And I don’t just mean a formal conversion to the Catholic Church, though that’s the best. I’m thrilled when my work helps anyone take one small step toward Christ and his Church, however modest the movement. That’s what fuels me. The technology’s not the end game; it’s a tool, like any other tool, which can help guide people toward Christ.

In your spare time, what are we likely to find you doing? Do you have a gadget in hand or do you go native and screenless?

Since I sit in front of a computer all day long, I do try to unplug outside of work–especially at home. I’ve long had the habit of whipping out my cell phone during those in-between moments with family, and I’m trying to stop that. I’d much rather be present with my kids than tweeting; I prefer exchanging comments with them rather than with Facebook.

Yet when the kids are asleep and my wife is busy, there’s nothing I like more than to read a good book. I try to cultivate that sort of ‘deep reading’ that often gets lost in the whirling world of 500-word blog posts, pithy tweets, and quick-hit Facebook exchanges. I swim in those shallows all day long so when I relax, I want to throw on some literary scuba gear and dive down deep.

Read more of our Tech Talk columns.

Copyright 2012 Sarah Reinhard

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2 Comments

  1. Great blog Sarah. Brandon Vogt is a gift to our faith, and one of the best people leading the church in the digital age with his discipleship. He gave one of the best presentations at the recent Catholic New Media Conference, and is a great resource of information through his blog and social media postings. Thank you Brandon for all of your work for the Catholic Church.

  2. I’ll second John’s comment – from the first time I met Brandon, I’ve been continually impressed by his genuine humility, his service oriented attitude to his work, and his incredibly sweet personality. Our work in the mission field of the New Evangelization is greatly enhanced by the work of Brandon Vogt!

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