YODER — Franciscan Father David Mary Engo of the Franciscan Friars Minor in Fort Wayne will offer daily Lenten messages that will be sent via text messaging to cell phone numbers subscribed to www.CatholicTextMessaging.com, a Catholic text messaging service approved by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades.
Mark Michuda, Grand Knight of Council 13142 at St. Aloysius, Yoder, is spearheading the messaging initiative as “a tool used for spiritual growth and evangelization via cell phone.”
The Lenten messages target the 15 to 40 year olds who communicate primarily through texts. Each message, according to Father David Mary, will be a few sentences or short paragraph.
“We have to get into the same venues that are influencing our young adults,” Michuda said, but “all of us will benefit from the text messages during the Lenten season.”
In a telephone interview with Father David Mary, he said each message will “focus on our deepening conversion towards God as we’re drawn to turn to Him because of the attractiveness in the greatness in His love for us and the dignity that we receive from that love.”
Father Engo said the messages are designed for daily living. “It is very direct in the ability to examine our own consciences,” he said.
Subscribers to the messages become aware of “how we make decisions during the day and trying to be conscious of the presence of God throughout the day, each day through Lent,” Father David Mary noted. “Some helps in prayer will come out here and there.”
The Knights of Columbus’ state chaplains have been working together on a national level searching for ways to bring members closer to the Church resulting in new evangelization. The council at St. Aloysius Parish has experimented with text messaging over the last two years with members of their parish and has found success across all ages.
“As a parent myself, I need ways to encourage my children regardless of age to become more active in the Catholic Church,” Michuda said. “I hope that parents will sign their children up for the same reason.”
Subscribers will get a reminder every day that will help them grow and live their faith and become more engaged during the Lenten season.
“At Baptism, godparents make a vow to help the parents raise these children in the Church,” Michuda noted. “Our children need all of our prayers and support. Godparents can share these Lenten text messages as a spiritual resource that supports their godchildren.”
Michuda said the messages will be sent daily from Ash Wednesday through the Easter Triduum.
The web site posts a fee per subscriber to sign up to receive the messages, but for a limited time, and through a grant offered by Our Sunday Visitor, “we have an opportunity to offer it a no cost to the first 2,500 subscribers,” Michuda reported.
There are two ways to sign up for the text messages at no charge within the diocese. Dial 20300 and text “Go Catholic” from the cell phone of the subscriber. The second means is to send an email to [email protected] and enter “Go Catholic” in the subject line and the cell phone numbers of those to be subscribed.
Sean McBride, director of communications for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, said, “We are very excited about this initiative.”
For more information, or to sign up, visit www.catholictextmessaging.com.
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