More than meets the eye

Twitter posts these days are propelled by more than just 140 characters. The majority of tweets contain visual images:  photos, graphics and even movies. Why? Twitter itself recommends visual information to capture more “impressions”… people catching a tweet and spending more than a split second on it.

Really, it makes sense… particularly if the visual image captures the essence of the brief tweet. One of our recent tweets that has garnered a number of impressions is this one.

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Deir Mar Musa al-Habashi – Syria

After requoting a tweet from the Diocese of Syracuse @SyrDiocese: Let us keep our eyes focused on Christ! My thought turned right away to St. John of the Cross, man and mystic truly focused on Christ… particularly Christ on the Cross. I added this quote from John of the Cross to the original tweet: “One act done in charity is more precious in God’s sight than all the visions and communications [with God] possible.

I was tuning into @SyrDiocese reminding us to keep our eyes focused just as John of the Cross had prompted us to consider what is seen in God’s sight. We all need those reminders. Of course, this eventually led me later in the week, after the Daily Office to consider what I have seen, AND how it has changed my life.

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Frenco Pecchio – Milano, Itally

And so the post above. Once again, the depth of John of the Cross’ wisdom propels the conversation, but the image is amazing:  a 4th or 5th century fresco in an ancient monastery 80 km north of Damascus, Syria; a place I knew well, because I had prayed my Morning Office there in the Spring of 2011 at the beginning of the “Arab Spring” in Syria! The Monastery of Saint Moses the Abyssinian is perched high upon a cliff in the desert near Lebanon. There I encountered God in a profound way that truly penetrated my soul, as St. John writes.

A short tweet… an image. Far more than meets the eye!

Building Community… one tweet at a time

Just a year ago, I received a call:  “Can we ramp up a program to help our deacons broaden their evangelization outreach?” It was a great question… one that I pondered, prayed upon and researched for several days. In the end, it occured to me that Twitter, of all the social media possibilities, offered a great potential.

Why? I know, most people are Facebook or Instagram stalwarts. Somehow, the simplicityBW_deaconspeaking
and brevity of Twitter appealed to me. And it offered a perk (at no cost), TweetDeck, a platform for providing a single twitter account for an entire organization to use. Hmmm… now that had potential among 75 active permanent deacons in our diocese!

Sparing you the back story, TweetDeck now embraces @deaconspeaking. That’s a twitter account that, “is the official Twitter Team account of the Deacon Community, Diocese of Syracuse, New York. Our goal is to evangelize to all people.” We don’t have many followers, yet, but we’re working on it. How?

PFrancis_RequoteFirst, deacons are signing on as members of the TweetDeck Team. Secondly, we’re learning how to leverage popular tweets. Pope Francis is a great example! He usually receives 20-30 thousand likes on each tweet. Well, we broaden his message by drilling down into scripture.

This requote/retweet of the Pontiff’s message on Friday in the 5th Week of Lent is a good example. We simply reflected back to the original Gospel passage that his incredible tweet is based upon. It provides a vehicle for a meaningful message on our part as a deacon community, but more importantly, it grounds Pope Francis’ message in the scripture that our parishioners encountered on Ash Wednesday.

It’s a start. To date, six of us are on the team. We are tweeting daily (as many times as we can) and hopefully reaching out to our parishioners who are on Twitter. As our Strategic Plan states, “The new @deaconspeaking TweetDeck Team account is the latest addition to diocesan efforts to build an on-going evangelization presence via social media.”

Keep us in your prayers! (Better yet, follow us on Twitter at @deacondspeaking.)

1 – 2 -3… IGNITE!

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What better event to launch the use of our new Syracuse Deacons Community @deaconspeaking Twitter Team account than to share our diocesan Catholic Men’s Conference, IGNITE!  There was so much to share at this year’s event that coincided with the Solemnity of The Annunciation.

T-Shirt_Logo TweetThe excitement among the nearly 1,000 men gathered was worthy of sharing. This ninth year is based on a perfect formula for success:

Spiritual Graces – Mass, Reconciliation & Adoration

Catholic Challenges – 3 Very Dynamic and Different Speakers throughout the day

Community – Ample breaks, plentiful lunch, solid vendor support with plenty of space to mix and meet others with shared interests.

Six tweets during the day captured many of the conference highlights. And now, other deacons in the Diocese of Syracuse are joining the Twitter Team to ramp up our evangelization efforts.

If you’d like to follow us, here’s the info:

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Celebrating the Lenten Season

Rite of Election TweetLent is always a time for reflection on the year past. More than Advent, which begins the new church year and embraces preparation for the Incarnate God, Lent challenges us to prepare for the Salvific God, the Paschal Lamb, the Risen Christ.

With its acts of fasting, charity and prayer, Lent is a time for spiritual “exercise”… yet, it’s also a time to reflect on how we celebrate those who have made the decision to embrace the faith. I found this year’s Rite of Election at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception to be an awesome celebration of all that Lent prepares us for. Standing by so many Catechumens from throughout our diocese confirmed for me that we, as Catholic Christians, have much to celebrate!

As we continue our Lenten journey towards Holy Week and Easter, let us celebrate the a season that provides such tangible rites as these that connect us to the earliest Christian Church!

“Lord, teach us how to pray.”

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In my prison ministry, I work with mentally handicapped men who have gotten into serious trouble with the law but can’t be in the penal system. Working on the meaning of words in the most basic of prayers can be a true challenge.

Enter the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence. At this year’s Ignite Men’s Conference in Syracuse, they displayed a simple, interactive board to help teach children the “difficult” words in Our Lord’s Prayer.

If you look closely, I’ve turned over the wooden tile for “trespass”. The flip side says ” sin”. Whow!

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Thank you Daughters of St. Mary of Providence for showing me a technique that will certainly work with the men in my prison ministry.

No regrets!

Looking back over the week:  a time of great rides, spirited campfires, carousels, ice cream, faith building and even an evening visit from world famous circumnavigator, cyclist Jack Kelleher.

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Bob Cuffney & Jack Kelleher at Campfire

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Yet another flat to fix!

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Carousel Ride at West Endicott Park

Heading home

This morning we’re all packing our gear, folding up our tents and preparing for the ride home. Mass at 10:00, followed by a bit of pedaling, the requisite ice cream stop and finale at Our Lady of Good Counsel. More to come later…

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