Digital Catholics

Here are a few catch-up notes that are long overdue:

Best new site for Media Literacy from a Catholic perspective! Last week I posted here about the new Pauline Center for Media Literacy weekly movie reviews, which our sisters write from a Catholic perspective. But the site has more than just movie reviews, and we are adding new content all the time. Visit the new site and see how the faith we live by and the culture we live in intersect!

Media and Your Kids For families with kids, the CNN news site published a helpful article about young children using media: “Kids Under 9 Spending More Than 2 Hours a Day on Screens.” The article is based on a study by Common Sense Media–another favorite media literacy site that is helpful when looking at media for children. Along with this article, CNN published “New Screen Time Rules for Kids by Doctors.” The tips for “healthy digital media use” seem especially helpful, but in brief, here is what doctors recommend:


Doctors’ Guidelines for Screen Time for Kids

Screen time, or time spent using digital media for entertainment, should be limited.

18 months and younger No exposure. Screen time can:
cause disconnect between parents and children (babies deprived of parents’ attention may develop behavioral issues)Prevent healthy brain development for infants because it limits face-to-face contactOverstimulate, which can cause distress and sleep issues
2-5 years 1 hour per day

Only high quality

No advertisements

Children at this age can’t differentiate between real-world and screen-world. In addition to high-quality programs, face-to-face interactivity onscreen (such as Skype or Facetime) is a good choice.
6 & older Limit & Monitor Screen time should never replace healthy activities (sleep, social interaction, physical activity)

Parents need to help children and teens navigate the media environment, just as they teach children how to behave off-line

Designate media-free times together (such as meals)

Designate media-free zones at home (such as bedrooms)

Set up a media plan for the family

Based on article: “New Screen Time Rules for Kids by Doctors” by Hailey Middlebrook, CNN


The World Congress for Child Dignity in the Digital World has made many of the speeches of the congress available here on the Congress website. The Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome hosted the congress from October 3-6, 2017 .

Pope Francis offers his insights into his style as a communicator in today’s world: Pope Francis on Why He Gives Interviews. For Pope Francis, a “real meeting,” means “real conversation.” His best tip? He prays to the Holy Spirit ahead of time to inspire him with what to say.

“The truth will set you free” (John 8:32): Fake news and Journalism for Peace is the theme for the next World Communications Day on May 13, 2018. The Vatican’s Secretariat for Communication posted the theme on September 29th (the Feast of the Archangels Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel). The explanation follows:

The theme that the Holy Father Francis has chosen for the 52nd World Day of Social Communications 2018 relates to so-called “fake news”, namely baseless information that contributes to generating and nurturing a strong polarisation of opinions. It involves an often misleading distortion of facts, with possible repercussions at the level of individual and collective behaviour. In a context in which the key companies of the social web and the world of institutions and politics have started to confront this phenomenon, the Church too wishes to offer a contribution, proposing a reflection on the causes, the logic and the consequences of disinformation in the media, and helping to promote professional journalism, which always seeks the truth, and therefore a journalism of peace that promotes understanding between people.


Online Evening Visit with Jesus At the conclusion of our online Facebook Live Novena to Our Lady of Fatima, Sister Kathryn and I decided that we would like to try to offer a simple Evening Visit with Jesus every night at 8 PM at the Facebook page: Ask a Catholic Nun. We are still getting it off the ground, but it’s a wonderful way to share prayer intentions and feel part of a community that prayers together every evening. I hope you can find the time to join us.

Meet the selfie-snapping Sisters of Snapchat is a fun article interviewing Catholic sisters using social media! Several #MediaNuns are included.

Upcoming Los Angeles Media Events

For those in California, especially in the Los Angeles area, the Pauline Center for Media Studies has a couple of excellent upcoming events.

Advanced Certificate in Media Literacy Course for 2016. For more information, and to register, visit:


The National Film Retreat: Cinema and the 7 Qualities of Mercy. For the retreat flyer, click here (or on the image)

National Film Retreat 2016 Square


This retreat has some marvelous films–if you can go, I highly recommend it!

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On Monday (July 11), I will begin my eight-day annual retreat, so I will not be blogging for two weeks. However, you will be “with me” on my retreat in a special way–in my prayers!  If you send me your intentions,  I will pray for them specifically and individually during the retreat.

* * *

No one has expressed interest in a free copy copy of my book, See Yourself Through God’s Eyes, available in Polish.

If you live in the USA, know someone who reads Polish who might be interested in my book, please contact me, and I’ll send you the book when I return from retreat.  Here’s more about the book:



For when we struggle with doubts about
our self-worth…

God’s love can transform our relationships with ourselves and others, helping us to grow
in healthy self-esteem!

God’s love for me has become the bedrock
of my identity, my spiritual life,
and a healthier self-esteem.

– Sr. Marie Paul Curley, author

SYTGE4stepmeditationMeditate on God’s Love
in 4 Easy Steps

  1. A story or example from ordinary life that challenges our sense of ourselves.
  2. A passage from the Scriptures in which God speaks heart to heart with us and sheds light on the situation, assumptions, or feelings that the previous story might raise in us. Reading and pondering this short line is the key to making the meditation.
  3. A reflection that allows the Scripture passage to challenge or speak directly to the false assumptions under which we tend to interpret our daily experience, so that we can grow in our trust in God’s love for us.
  4. A short prayer we can repeat often during the day to help us reconnect to God’s love and fidelity.

Can You Be a Contemplative on Twitter?

media_joyCatholic World Report’s online magazine has a wonderful interview with a sister of my community, Sr. Helena Burns, Media Apostle: the Church’s New “Media Saint.”  Among many other efforts at evangelization, Sr. Helena wrote and produced the documentary on the life of our founder, Media Apostle: The Father James Alberione Story.  The film is a truly-inspiring documentary that is not only a fascinating biography of one of the most prolific founders in the Church, but it’s also full of insight into media spirituality. The interview on Catholic World Report is an informal commentary on how we can engage with media today as faith-filled Catholics.



49th World Communications Day Mass–Come Celebrate with Us!

For any media professionals in the Boston area, come celebrate the 49th World Communications Day with us! For lots more information, visit:

WCDMass_invitation copy


We are looking forward to developing other events that explore our Pauline spirituality of communication with those for whom we pray–those who work in the media. If you are interested in finding out more, drop me an email, or join us for the Mass!

“Media Nuns” on Spirit Catholic Radio

Spirit-Mornings-Header-crop2Spirit Catholic Radio, which streams online and broadcasts throughout much of Nebraska, has asked me to talk about today’s blog post on tomorrow’s show. That’s Thursday, June 19, from 8:35 AM – 8:45 AM CST. If you can, tune in! I’ll be talking about my community, the Daughters of Saint Paul, and our Pauline spirituality that nurtures our media mission.

Encounter: Pope Francis shows us the “how” of true communication

IMG_20140124_115240645Today, January 24th, is one of my favorite days of the year. Not only is it the day before the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, and the feast day of St. Francis de Sales (who is patron of journalists, and a saint that I’m coming to appreciate more and more as a marvelous model for Catholic communicators), but it’s also the day that the Pope publishes his message for World Communications Day. This year’s message is wonderful: Communication at the Service of an Authentic Culture of Encounter (for the 48th World Day of Communications on June 1, 2014).

As I’ve been listening to and praying with the messages and reflections of Pope Francis, I’ve been struck by his emphasis on encounter, which I see as the “how” or the style of true communication. Encounter is not just the theme of this message, it’s also how Pope Francis communicates. Today in his message, he unpacks this theme a little more for us as writers. Here is one of my favorites quotes (so far):

It is not enough to be passersby on the digital highways, simply “connected”; connections need to grow into true encounters.  We cannot live apart, closed in on ourselves.  We need to love and to be loved.  We need tenderness.  Media strategies do not ensure beauty, goodness and truth in communication.  The world of media also has to be concerned with humanity, it too is called to show tenderness. 

Pope Francis reminds us, as Catholic communicators, that we are called to show tenderness in our communication. What a profound reminder of our humanity and our identity as belonging to Christ! Today, all writers and communicators will be in my prayers, as we celebrate the immense possibilities of our calling to foster true connection, encounter, and communion: within ourselves, with the human family, and with God.

Looking in the mirror: an examination of conscience for Catholic communicators

Today’s Gospel reading from Luke 16:1-8 is Jesus’ story about the crafty steward who is praised for being enterprising. This morning, I couldn’t help but connect it directly to Catholics and people of faith working in the media.

As a Daughter of St. Paul working directly in the media, I am aware of and support many other Catholics and Christians who work in the media. There are many good people of faith making many wonderful efforts to transform culture with faith-based media productions that illumine and inspire with the truth of the Gospel. I could make a long list…which perhaps I should post, as each of us needs all the encouragement and support we can get. (Too often, we feel that we are working alone, sailing our tiny boats of faith directly into a tidal wave of a popular culture that seems obsessed with selfishness, greed, and death.)

However, despite the great efforts that are being made, I still find these words of Jesus sadly prophetic when it comes to people of faith using the media: “For the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light” (Lk. 16:8). Are we really doing all we can? Are we as eager to proclaim the Gospel as the stereotypical producer who is driven to make a quick buck delivering an audience to an advertiser?

I ask this question of myself first of all. And I suspect the answer to come in my prayer later today will be, “No, I’m not doing all I can.”

Let me clarify. It’s not that I’m not trying hard. But today’s Gospel raises other questions for me, questions like: Do I take initiative? Do I know the forms of media well enough to use them effectively? Am I willing to make the hard choices, to discern well, to take risks, to learn something new? Do I focus my efforts? In other words: Am I, as a media artist, really doing all that I can to transform our culture of death into a culture of hope?

The question becomes bigger when I raise this question for the Church. Are we, as Catholics and as Christians, supporting each other and uniting our efforts in communication? Are we really doing all that we can together to renew our world with the Gospel?

You might think with all of these questions that I’m being scrupulous or hard on myself. Or that I’m being hard on the Church. I disagree.

The Founder of the Pauline Family, Blessed James Alberione, encouraged us to always “strain forward” like St. Paul. We can’t be satisfied with what’s been done, but are called to respond to the needs people have now. Today, the media themselves are constantly developing. If my call is to communicate Christ, then I constantly need to be thinking and praying about the spiritual thirst of humanity, the opportunities that are out there, and how I can reach out–today, tomorrow, next year–to offer the joy of the Gospel to those who thirst for the waters of life.

I’m not asking myself these questions to drive myself (or anyone else) crazy. I’m asking them to help me open up to the ever-newness of the Gospel and the workings of the Spirit. Sometimes when I’m busy, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut, or to feel that the call to witness to Christ is a burden. Questions like these can help me to see things afresh and stir up my enthusiasm. Because the reality is that this call to radiate Christ in our lives and in the media is actually an amazing gift that blesses us in far more ways than we could possibly share. In trying to discover a new way of articulating the hope that Christ has placed in me (whether in a tweet, blogpost, or book), my hope is strengthened, deepened, and enlivened.

For Media Professionals–Celebrate with Archbishop Collins

or visit the Facebook Page.

James Alberione doc to be produced!

Sister Helena R. Burns, FSP (Chicago) is producing a PBS-style documentary on Blessed James Alberione, the founder of the Daughters of St. Paul and the Pauline Family. Historical footage and commentary intertwine with modern cinematography and current interviews with his contemporaries, to bring Alberione and his message to life for the 21st century.

Here’s the trailer, which gives a glimpse of the scope and depth of Alberione’s vision:

Sr. Helena offers the following reasons for producing the film:

► to offer Alberione as a role model for those who foster within society a media culture built on faith values and the dignity of the human person.

► to better connect the Church with the world through the media by presenting this man and his mission as an antidote to polarization and fundamentalism;

►to help people, especially the young, envision themselves growing as persons in an ever more technological and “wired” world;

► to help young people discern within themselves a possible vocation to the Pauline Family as a sister, priest, brother or lay person.

Visit here for more information about the film as it develops!