The new arena of media ministry is podcasting.
More than three weeks ago I received an invitation to join Disciples With Microphones (DWM), a network of Catholic podcasters. The invite actually came as a pleasant surprise – I have visited the website before when I googled for podcasts, but since I did not read the “about us” page I had no idea that it was a gathering of Catholic podcasters.
There is a considerable number of Catholic podcasters out there but I think DWM is the only Catholic podcasting network. Podcasting is a new media technology and I am so glad that many Catholic communicators have embraced it and appropriated it as a tool to proclaim God’s message. The latest podcasts lined up in the DWM website include the following series – Daily Readings, Catholic Cast, Rosary, Breadcast, and many more. In its archive is a good number of podcasts for Terri Schiavo. I have listened to many of them already and I think the podcasters did a commendable job.
The first Catholic podcaster is a layman. And that says a lot. His name is Jayson Franklin and his podcast series is called Catholic Cast. It promises to be the most eclectic podcast about the Holy Roman Church. Most of the members of DWM are actually laypeople, in fact DWM is lay-run. As far as I know it has only two ordained members – Fr. Roderick and myself. The DWM mailing list tells me that it has more than 50 active members around the world. The official podcast from the Holy See is the Vatican Radio Podcast.
The Catholic Church takes a fundamentally positive approach to the media. One of the two-fold aims of the Church in regard to the media is “to encourage their right development and right use for the sake of human development, justice, and peace—for the upbuilding of society at the local, national, and community levels in light of the common good and in a spirit of solidarity” (source). And it is in this view that podcasting should be understood.
The focus of Catholic podcasting must then be: promotion of justice and peace, evangelization, witnessing, and forming communities of faith. It is my hope that more and more people are encouraged to produce podcasts which contribute to understanding among peoples and the recognition of human, social, and spiritual values, as well as to express new personal and social dimensions of God’s message.
I am also looking forward to the day when podcasters are able to give a powerful voice to the poor, minorities, women, children and others who are consistently and increasingly marginalised in the social sphere. Jesus came to liberate these people and it is but fitting that podcasting is used as a tool to give voice to the voiceless.