A professor’s understanding of how a Catholic should engage the media is making a difference for his students and the culture.
Students in one of Dr. Eugene Gan’s communications classes at Franciscan University of Steubenville are embracing the use of YouTube to evangelize, Gan told The Cardinal Newman Society in an interview on February 4th.
The students are creating short videos to reclaim signs and symbols that have been distorted by the culture. One video shows how the use of the word “pro-choice” isn’t a true description of the “pro-abortion” movement.
And one of Gan’s students, Matthew Sich, a current junior at Franciscan University and one of the founders of Petros Media, is garnering a lot of attention for his new, popular app that he recently created.
FlipSquare is a “new and exciting puzzle game that really makes you think,” Sich said in an interview published on Aleteia. It’s different than other games like “Candy Crush” because “it makes you stop and think ahead instead of mindlessly swiping around the screen.”
When asked about the role his Catholic faith has played in app development, Sich responded that it’s been “paramount” to the process, according to Aleteia. He stated:
My first app was ‘St.Louis de Montfort's Total Consecration To Mary,’ and it's the fact that it was a Catholic app that caught the attention of the company of which I am now the CTO. When planning out the profit split for FlipSquare, we all unanimously voted to give 10% of the income from the app to a select charity every month. Prayer has been at the center of FlipSquare’s development from start to finish.
“To encounter Christ in the media, we really need to have an active prayer life,” Gan said, echoing Sich’s emphasis on prayer. It helps with our “discernment” in “accepting some media” and “rejecting certain media,” he said.
Gan explores the wealth of guidance the Church has offered in regards to media in his book, Infinite Bandwidth: Encountering Christ in the Media. He explained the inspiration behind the book’s title:
Bandwidth, in communication terms, is the pipeline where you transmit a message from messenger to recipient. An infinite bandwidth ideally means that the bandwidth is so broad that you can transmit an infinite number of messages. But no such thing is physically possible [in human terms]. There is only one authentic infinite bandwidth—and that is prayer. The reason for that is that God is infinite and so our communication with him, therefore, is infinite.
The media can be an “extension to physical relationships that we have---it is not a replacement, nor an end all or be all, but it is a support,” he said.
Many Catholics need to know that “it’s ok to play, it’s ok to create,” Gan said. “Play, like worship, is done for its own sake. The fruit of each is joy.”
“As much as the media has been abused and all the issues we see online, much good flows from this gift from God,” Gan continued. He has personal experience with one of the “gifts”t hat can flow from the media, having met his wife online at Ave Maria Singles.
Gan suggests that Catholics take a lesson from St. Paul in approaching the media. Just as St. Paul went to the Areopagus to be “where people were at, where they met,” likewise the “Church calls the media the Areopagus of our time.”
Dr. Eugene’s book Infinite Bandwidth is available for purchase on Amazon, and can be used in group studies. He has spoken at various functions across the country and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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