Conference to Encourage Catholics to Occupy "Digital Continent"

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PrintAustralia and New Zealand’s Catholic digital media enthusiasts will get a chance to learn from two of the world’s foremost Catholic media figures in August for the first staging of the Catholic Digital Media Conference (CDMC) in North Sydney.

The follow-up to the successful CNMC Melbourne in September 2013, CDMC Sydney will offer insights into how Catholics can – and should – use the Internet to share the message of the Gospel, with useful tips on how platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram can be tools for evangelisation.

“It can be easy for individuals and organisations within the Church to look at a social network like Facebook as merely a place where the most mundane details of people’s lives can be shared,” said Sarah Juszczak, a member of the CDMC organising committee.

“We want people to understand it’s also a place where we have the opportunity to witness, to reach out to others and to share some of the most profound truths we hold, including the truth of Christ and his Church,” she said.

Gavin Abraham, another member of the organising committee, said securing internationally renowned podcasters, bloggers and authors Greg and Jennifer Willits as CDMC’s keynote speakers was a major coup.

“Greg and Jennifer have been true pioneers in this area, with their various online projects – and their previous work in satellite radio – having tens of thousands of followers around the world,” he said.

“Successive Popes have spoken about the emerging online communications channels and the opportunities they provide.

“Pope Benedict has spoken of the need for Catholics to occupy what he called the ‘digital continent’. Greg and Jennifer were early residents there, and they’ll be encouraging others to join them.”

Other speakers at the conference include Australians and New Zealanders who are involved, either professionally or in their personal lives, in using online media as a tool to share the message of Christ. Topics covered will include the use of social networks, podcasting, blogging, online video, mobile Internet and the use of technology to deepen one’s faith life.

“We’ve tried to design a program that will provide people who are new to digital media an opportunity to learn the basics, but also to give more experienced digital evangelisers some helpful advice on how to get the most out of the Internet,” Mr Abraham said.

He added that CDMC’s timing, to immediately precede the Proclaim conference, is fitting.

“The work of Catholic new media and the work of the new evangelisation must be seen together, so when the National Office for Evangelisation asked us to team up with them and host our conference in Sydney immediately before theirs, it made perfect sense,” he said.

The connection between CDMC and Proclaim has been cemented, with each conference offering a discount to delegates already registered for the other.

CDMC Sydney is being held at the Isabel Menton Theatre at Mary MacKillop Place, North Sydney, on August 19 and 20. Visit www.cdmcaustralia.com for more information and to register. The early-bird rate for registrations ends July 20.

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