Catechesis in the Digital Age
EAO, ZOOM: On Thursday, March 17, 2022. In School of Formation, organizied the Second online formation for 2022. It dealt with the topic: “Catechesis in the Digital Age: From Transmission to Sharing '' and was animated by Fr Dominic Tran Quang Hien sdb (Vietnam province) with 37 participants.
Fr Dominic presented the topic in 4 parts:
1. Digital metanoia: What changes and what we need to change in the digital era: We recognize that the digital age can be called the era of hypercommunication or hyperconnectivity. So, the catechesis strives to create more possibilities of encounter and more fruitful relationships between the catechumen, the catechist, and the community of faith, considering the characteristics of the human being, culture, and world of today. For this, people must understand the network not as a tool, but as an environment of relationships. Therefore, the catechesis should put the person at the center, not books or doctrine.
2. Digital natives: The new protagonists of catechesis and learning:
We don’t consider catechumens as passive but active subjects. We help them to develop important skills that are not natural predispositions. To invite them to participate, interact, collaborate, and become responsible. The catechesis should be dynamic, using digital technologies, opening many activities, such as prayer, reflection, sharing personal experiences of faith in Facebook, Instagram and, open an interactive and communicative inner encounter with God and with oneself.
3. Cybertheology: Thinking and living the Faith in the middle of a digital revolution
Cybertheology takes the Internet as its locus theologicus from which its different view of society detects the important aspects to develop its reflection. Applying the theology of the Second Vatican Council, we can consider the network a theological place of the “signs of the times,” because it forms a great phenomenon that marks contemporary history. So that the catechesis should be near with the reality of catechumens, respond to many questions of people in their daily lives, such as the pandemic, war, poverty, etc. and not only focus on knowledge or theology of doctrines.
4. Network pedagogy: Thinking catechesis in times of the Internet:
The catechesis should be thought of as a network of relationships, which nourishes the bonds between catechists and catechumens, and among catechumens, family, and community. Catechesis should not be understood as mere instruction or transmission of content, but as a sharing of the experience of living a life in God in any environment, online or offline. To use a methodology of telling the story of Jesus and the personal story of faith.
To form does not mean to transmit information, it means to give credibility to the message and the formation in times of fake news. This must find its base in the personal testimony, image, and attitudes of the educator. For that, we must pass from a onetomany communication to a manytomany style, that is, moving from the logic of transmission to the logic of sharing.
A discussion in six groups followed the presentation. They shared about the reality, challenges, and advantages of doing catechesis in the digital age in each province. It helped each participant understand the context of each province and to open a new horizon, inspire a new vision, and a new methodology for doing catechesis in the digital age of today.