Lost and found
Found: The Internet. The Catholic Church has discovered that this is a great way to reach out to people they have lost (and that they are hoping not to lose).
Catholicscomehome.org has created a series of commercials about real people returning to their faith. The ads reportedly brought 6,000 people in Phoenix back to the church, according to Zenit News Agency, but when you look further into the website, you see a lot things that Vincent Gragnani reports turn off "recovering Catholics."
Catholics are also reaching out to the young online in an effort to keep them Catholic. A new website by the British Catholic Agency to Support Evangelization called yfaith just launched for kids ages 10-13. It offers areas for community and questions specifically geared to young Catholics as well as non-Catholics interested in faith.
Finally, the pope has found social networking. The big online Catholic news has been that yesterday "BXVI" posted a message on xt3.com, the social networking site created to link participants in any of the World Youth Day celebrations from around the world. Here's his message to the 35,000 users of xt3.com, according to the U.K. Times Online.
"Dear Friends, Fifty days ago we were together for the celebration of Mass. Today I greet you on the birthday of Mary, Mother of the Church. Empowered by the Spirit and courageous like Mary, your pilgrimage of faith fills the Church with life! Soon I am to visit France. I ask you all to join me in praying for the young people of France. May we all be rejuvenated in hope!
Will the Internet rejuvenate the Catholic Church in hope? Only time will tell, but there certainly are a lot of faith-filled ventures (along with the faithless ones) online these days.