Don’t respond to this on a Friday

R U 4 real? That is how some might react to the Italian bishops’ request that Catholics abstain from sending text messages and even Web surfing during Fridays of Lent.

The Rhode Island Catholic found a mixed reaction to this request in a recent story.

Some said the techno-free Fridays could give people the chance to get closer to God, but others were quick to point out that technology actually brings people closer together and is an important tool for evangelizing.

The Vatican is certainly on the same page with that notion — as it proved when it launched its news channel on YouTube earlier this year.

Father Jay Finelli, pastor of Holy Ghost Church in Tiverton, R.I., is all about new media. He has his own Web site, a Facebook account with more than 1,000 friends and he also does weekly podcasts which he says brings people back to the church and even draws in new people.

Father Michael Najim, director of vocations for the Diocese of Providence, is similarly tech-savvy using his iPhone, laptop and Facebook page.

But he praised the Italian bishops’ advice saying it would give Catholics an opportunity to “take a step back.”

Like the bishops, he is not about to suggest that people completely pull back from modern communication.

“I think there’s a lot of good things happening with technology,” he sad. “But at the same time, we have to know when to shut those things off.”

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