Popular Priest Combats Crisis of Faith - Digitally!
Fr. Robert Barron’s Pioneering Website Expands into New Territories
by Christine Schicker Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Contact: Christine Schicker
CHICAGO, September 2 – Fr. Robert Barron is one of the world’s greatest and innovative teachers of spirituality. The popular Catholic preacher and author is drawing a record number of visitors to his redesigned website, WordOnFire.org. Fr. Barron is also tapping YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other new media tools to engage thousands of people – Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
“People aren’t just spontaneously coming to our institutions anymore,” said Fr. Barron, a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago. “We have to go out to get them. It’s the way we have to go if we’re serious about evangelizing the next generation.”
Chicago’s Cardinal George calls Fr. Barron one of the Church’s best messengers. Ten years ago, Fr. Barron had the foresight to launch his own website and soon became the first podcasting priest in America. Today, WordOnFire.org offers new, highly-interactive features that invite visitors on a global journey and into a deeper conversation about the spiritual life and the Church’s teachings.
Fr. Barron’s online videos, audio sermons, and articles cover a variety of topics and media, offering compelling commentaries on everything from the best-selling book “The Shack” to the Oscar-winning film “Slumdog Millionaire” to the recent controversy over President Obama’s speech at Notre Dame. Visitors to WordOnFire.org can also take a virtual pilgrimage with Fr. Barron as he films a landmark, high-def epic adventure, The CATHOLICISM Project. The documentary series will take viewers to over 30 locations in 15 countries and is hailed by writer George Weigel as “one of the most significant efforts ever to advance what Pope John Paul II called ‘The New Evangelization.’”
"I'm very excited about the newly designed website. We are attempting to engage the culture with the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” explained Fr. Barron. “And I would like to highlight that word ‘engage.’ All of the forums on the website are interactive, allowing the visitor to talk back, to raise questions, to elicit further comment. Why not use these amazing technologies? It’s something the Church has been behind on.”
The mission of Word On Fire is to draw people into the Body of Christ, which is the Church, and thereby gives them access to all the gifts that Jesus wants his people to enjoy. In the same spirit of obedience held by the first disciples, who upon Christ’s command cast their nets into the deep waters of the sea, Fr. Barron puts out into the deep waters of the world-wide Web. The Word On Fire website draws more than 300,000 visitors each year from every continent.
Fr. Barron is the Director of Word on Fire and is the Francis Cardinal George Professor of Faith and Culture at The University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary. He is available for interviews. Please contact Christine Schicker with The Maximus Group at 404-610-8871.
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