Catholic Citizenship Essay Contest

State Champion 8th Grader John Lydon

     This contest encourages today’s youth to be more connected to their community and their faith. The goal of this program is to involve young Catholics in grades 8 to 12 (public, private, parochial or home schools during the current school year) in civic discourse and instill in them religious and life-affirming values. Holy Family Council 10019 of Lewiston, Maine sponsors all 8th graders at Saint Dominic’s Academy in Auburn, Maine. Essays are 500-750 words on a specific topic, changing every other year. Entrants are judged on grammar, style, and how clearly they present the theme in a way that showcases creativity, imagination and overall development of the topic.

     On December 15, 2023, Holy Family Council awarded three 8th graders first place and submitted them to the Maine State Council for further judging.  After all applications from councils across the State, John Lydon, from Saint Dom’s, was declared State of Maine Champion for 8th graders.


John gave his ideas on “How can the Church evangelize in the digital age?” Following is John’s essay:


     “In today’s digital era, the Church has incredible opportunities to spread its message and connect with people in new and innovative ways.  In this essay, I will be discussing how the Catholic Church can use modern day social media and technological devices to spread the word of God to the people on earth.

     Mother Angelica, a catholic Nun, was the known founder of an international cable network called EWTN. Over 20 years ago, starting in 1981, she developed a way for Catholics to join together in Catholism using radio and television.  She wanted a better way to communicate matters of the Catholic Church.  This is a great example of how someone took technology that was available and used it to benefit Catholics worldwide.

     We now live in a modern age where there are new ways to gather as a community.  Platforms such as YouTube, TikTok, and Twitter (X) provide opportunities for the Church to share uplifting messages, inspirational quotes, and thought-provoking content.  By utilizing these platforms, the Church can reach people where they are, in the comfort of their own homes or on their smartphones.  Additionally, live streaming and online services have become increasingly popular, especially in recent times when physical gatherings may not be possible.  By embracing technology, the Church can provide virtual worship experiences, allowing individuals to participate in services from anywhere in the world.  The inclusivity and accessibility can help the Church to connect with individuals who may not have been able to attend in-person services, as mentioned earlier.

     Another way the Church can evangelize in the modern age is through podcasting.  Podcasts have gained immense popularity, providing an opportunity for the Church to share sermons, teachings, and discussions on various faith-related topics. By offering the content in an easily accessible format, the Church can reach individuals who prefer audio based learning.

     Another way that the Church can evangelize in the modern age is through Zoom.  Zoom is a virtual meeting program.  A priest could lead a discussion with parishioners and have retreats.  Instead of just preaching to the congregation, the priest can have full conversations with the parishioners.  The parishioners on Zoom can ask questions to the priest.  The parishioners can also make friends that live all over the world.  Furthermore, the Church can leverage the power of online communities and forums to foster discussion, provide support and answer questions.  Creating spaces where individuals can engage with one another and with Church leaders, can deepen their understanding of the faith and provide a sense of belonging.  These online communities can also serve as a gateway for individuals to explore further and eventually connect with local Church communities.

     In Conclusion, the Church can effectively evangelize in the modern age by embracing technology and utilizing social media platforms, live streaming, podcasting, and online communities.  By meeting people where they are and providing accessible and engaging content, the Church can reach a broader audience and make a meaningful impact in the lives of individuals seeking spiritual connection and guidance. Remember, it takes someone brave with a powerful message to start a trend. Once everyone hears it and is open to the idea, it can only bring on great things.


John Lydon (left) is being congratulated by Bob Dumond (right).

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