Diocesean conference to focus on effects of media on relationships
HARRISBURG - "How do my virtual relationships compare with real-life relationships?"
"What does my faith have to do with who my Facebook friends are?"
"Is my use of technology hurting my relationships with my family and God?"
Those who attend will examine what it means to be Christian in a digital world at the Diocesan Communications Conference, "Virtually Human: The Impact of Media and Technology on Human Relationships."
The conference, open to all, will take place Sept. 14 at the Cardinal Keeler Center, 4800 Union Deposit Road, Harrisburg, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is the first diocesan conference of its kind. Registration is now open at www.hbgdiocese.org/virtuallyhuman or by calling (717) 657-4804 extension 201.
The day will engage all on topics such as the use and impact of social media, smart phones, virtual relationships, online bullying, privacy issues and other relational and moral aspects of media. Parents, catechists, youth ministers, teachers, clergy, college students and young adults are especially encouraged to attend.
The schedule for the day:
8 a.m. - Registration opens.
9 a.m. - Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, celebrated by the Rev. Joshua Brommer.
10:15 a.m. - Keynote address by Dr. Eugene Gan, professor at Franciscan University of Steubenville, author of "Infinite Bandwidth: Encountering Christ in the Media."
11:20 a.m. - Breakout sessions to engage parents, catechists, youth ministers, college students and young adults
Parental Skills and Media Use - Dr. Jim Beeghley.
Ten Commandments and Using Media Safely - Tom Steele
Media Addiction and the Effect on Relationships - Christian Charity Sisters Bernadette McCauley and Donna Marie Kemberling.
12:30 p.m. - Lunch.
1:30 p.m. - Panel and question-and-answer discussion.
"The conference will present a clear picture of the responsibility we have as Christians to make good choices in our use of media and technology," said McCauley. She and Sister Donna Marie Kemberling will offer a breakout session on the moral aspects of media and the pitfalls of addiction. Both teach psychology at their congregation's formation college in New Jersey.
Beeghley is an educational technologist. He often works with parents and educators on cyber-bully prevention, and his presentation at the conference will focus on teaching youth about the proper use of media.
Tom Steele, the director of information technology at St. Joseph Parish in York, says today's technology is the new printing press, and is an opportune way for the church and her people to share the Good News. With that use comes a great deal of responsibility, he said.
His breakout session at the conference will relate the Ten Commandments to media use.