Amidst the bits and bytes that pulse through the veins of our modern societies, a new phenomena continues to grow that has tremendous impact for the Church -- the use of media by missionaries, global access to these media missions, and the immediacy and affordability of their production.
The democratization of media and its tools, such phenomena are increasingly being utilized by a new generation of Catholic missionaries. Young and energetic these priests, brothers, sisters, and lay, push the bounds of what it means to be a missionary. At the core is Christ and the caritas that flows to all his children. But now along with books, breviaries, rosaries and supplies, the mission kit also contains a cell phone, an HD camera, and a notebook computer capable of publishing and producing top class documentaries.
It is a new era of witness and a new era of "the exchange of persons" -- they very definition of media. It is a time to reach isolated communities and traverse new landscapes.
But with democritization comes a degree of noise. There are many bottles floating upon the whitecaps of this new ocean each stuffed with a message and ultimately prompting a response from surfer who happens upon the media filled container or "site". Is communio, an exchange that leads to truth and solidarity possible here? I believe it is.
An example of a mission group using new media to its fullest is the Fraternity of St. Charles. Based in Rome they've been active in the Holy Land helping sustain the Christian remnant and they're doing this, in part, through a collaboration with Journeyman Pictures who has just helped the Fraternity produce the remarkable documentary -- Across The Wall, with Fr. Vincent Nagle.
From their press release we read:
What is it like to be a Christian in the heart of Palestine? Can faith really prevail over violence and division?
In the Catholic parish of Nablus, a few are still determined to bear their cross.
Born a Jew, converted Catholic and expert on the history of Islam, Father Vincent Nagle seemed predestined to come to Palestine. Now a priest in Nablus, one of the most volatile cities in the region, he tries to make sense of the divisions that dominate everyday life there: "This land. It is precisely what unites us that also divides us".
Caught in the crossfire between communities, living in Nablus as a Christian is not easy. "Here for the Muslims, we are Christians. And for the Jews, we are Arabs", a parishioner tells Vincent. Yet, the few-hundred strong community is held together by the belief that they are preserving an essential part of the land: "If all the Christians leave, all thats left is a museum!"