Social media craze Pinterest gets a loftier purpose

Ever since Pinterest, a digital bulletin board, debuted a couple of years ago, individuals, organizations and businesses have found creative ways to show off their wares, wants, services or work.

Pinterest, the latest craze in social media, operates much like a board where users “pin” photos (or text) of what they love and others can see it in a digital collection.

While most people pin clothing or food they like, home goods they want or the latest arts and crafts project they completed, Catholic Relief Services recently found a loftier use.

“We want to pin your prayers,” they wrote on the recently created board.

The board is called  “Pin-A-Prayer.”

CRS is gathering prayer intentions that can be added to the collection by “pinning” a particular prayer to the CRS board or typing “@Catholic Relief Services” in the text of a prayer intention entry by those who use Pinterest.

Villanova student’s ‘arrivederci’ to internship in Rome

By Bridget Kelly

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — I never thought I would study abroad in Italy. I also never thought I would intern in one of the holiest places in the world.

However after being chosen to participate in the Vatican Internship Experience by the Villanova University Communications Department, I could not contain my excitement. Strangely enough, I was originally supposed to intern at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications office, but — happily enough — I ended up working in the Catholic News Service Rome Bureau.

During the first week of my internship, the CNS photographer reassured me, “You’ll learn so much here. You won’t regret interning at CNS, trust me.” And boy was he right! From attending papal audiences, to sitting in the press box at the 2012 consistory for the creation of new cardinals, my time here has truly been a dream come true. Not to mention attending interesting press conferences, visiting and filming numerous churches, spending Easter at St. Peter’s Basilica with the pope, getting an exclusive look inside the Sistine Chapel, and having my articles published on the CNS website. Thanks to CNS, I have been fortunate enough to get a sneak peek inside the Vatican, and not many people can say!

One of my favorite assignments at CNS was going with the videographer to film a Stations of the Cross art exhibit at Sant’Anselmo Church on Aventine Hill. Not only was I able to shadow the videographer, but I was also able to visit the gorgeous orange grove near the church! Being able to learn outside the office has been a wonderful opportunity.

Interning, studying and living in Rome has been a surreal experience. I have been blessed to be a part of such an amazing news agency and have learned how a professional office works. CNS took an inexperienced writer and taught her not just the basics of journalism, but also what a news agency expects. Even though I may have struggled at times, it was a learning experience through which I was able to I strengthen my communications capabilities as well as my journalism and video skills. Being able to intern in such an ideal environment has been rewarding and will certainly help me in my future career.

On my last day as the CNS spring 2012 intern, I am left with bittersweet emotions. I will never forget my time at CNS and am very fortunate for this rewarding and life changing experience.

Bridget Kelly was an intern in the CNS Rome bureau while attending Villanova University’s Rome program.

Marking Mary’s month in Rome

By Bridget Kelly
Catholic News Service

Women pray at a Marian shrine in Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood. (CNS/Bridget Kelly)

ROME — The month of May is associated with motherhood and new life, and the church dedicates the month to honoring and praising the Virgin Mary. Marian shrines in Rome receive special attention during the spring season because devotees and pilgrims visit the shrines, leaving flowers and gifts for the Madonna.

Street-corner shrines in Rome honor Mary and are places of prayer and thanksgiving. The Marian shrines are built into walls and the sides of buildings, allowing those who pass by to view the Madonna from various angles. Each shrine is unique and varied in color, size and shape.

Stories of miracles surround some of the “Madonnelle” shrines and are very popular with pilgrims who tend to pray the rosary at the sites. Faithful Romans visit their neighborhood shrine daily and offer thanksgiving. They also leave flowers and light candles at the shrines in order to thank and honor the Virgin.

Bridget Kelly is an intern in the CNS Rome bureau while she attends Villanova University’s Rome program. Her video story on the street shrines can be found here.

Video: John XXIII’s secretary on decision to call Vatican II

Don’t miss this week’s Vatican Report video from our Rome bureau featuring an interview with the colorful, 96-year-old former personal secretary to Blessed John XXIII, Archbishop Loris Capovilla, on the pope’s decision to convene the Second Vatican Council.

Decision still pending on Wikipedia abortion article titles

VATICAN CITY — When CNS interviewed Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales earlier this week, the online encyclopedia was in the midst of a debate over the title of entries dealing with people and movements that oppose and support legalized abortion.

Wikipedia itself said a “binding solution” would be announced May 1. Two days later the website still says that, but no solution has been posted.

However, the page explains the process Wikipedia uses to resolve complaints and conflicts over terminology — and links to a lot more detailed information on policy, principles and protocol. And, specifically in this case, it documents the debate on proposals for paired article titles: “Support for the legalization of abortion” and “Opposition to the legalization of abortion” or “Pro-choice movement” and “Pro-life movement.”

The administrators appointed to adjudicate the debate are volunteers elected as administrators by other users and volunteer contributors. They are not fulltime Wikipedia staff.

The discussion page shows how they are struggling to find a consensus on the appropriate article titles, keeping in mind the common public and media practice of referring to the sides in the abortion debate and Wikipedia’s stated preference for titles that reflect a “neutral point of view” while also giving weight to a group’s own self-description.

The voters are members of the “Wikipedia community,” members of the public who contribute to, use, edit or comment on the website.

An initial tally of the voters’ preferences among a list of 14 different options was added to the discussion page yesterday. The pairing “pro-life” and “pro-choice” garnered both the strongest support and the strongest opposition; voters’ comments said the terms are frequently used and are often the preferred self-descriptions, but are what Wikipedia describes elsewhere as “examples of terms labeled as political framing: they are terms which purposely try to define their philosophies in the best possible light, while by definition attempting to describe their opposition in the worst possible light.”

Today a table further refining the votes was added to the bottom of the page. Assigning points to the preferences — if a choice was listed first it garnered 14 points, being listed second earned 13, etc. — resulted in giving a slight edge to the pairing “Abortion-rights movement” and “Anti-abortion movement.” But when the point system was adjusted by giving a “strong preference” 15 points and a “strong opposition” minus 15 points, the pairing “Pro-life movment” and “Pro-choice movement” took a significant lead.

Got an iPhone or iPad? Find your way with IEC 2012 app

Pilgrims to the June 10-17 International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin can download a free app for their iPhone or iPad.

IEC2012 App is now available from iTunes to download on iPhones and iPads.

Dutch Dominican Brother Luuk Dominiek Jansen developed the app  in conjunction with staff of the congress.

In addition to a pilgrim guide, a pastoral resources tool, and news and multimedia feeds, the app offers information on programs in and around the Royal Dublin Society and Dublin’s Croke Park, where the closing Mass will be celebrated.

A statement from conference organizers says the app searches for updates every time it is opened. All of the information is stored in a database to ensure the app can be used offline, when no data network or Wi-Fi is available while traveling.

Pilgrims can download the app from the iTunes story by searching on IEC 2012.

Sharing World Communications Day materials

VATICAN CITY — The Pontifical Council for Social Communications is inviting bishops’ conferences, dioceses, religious orders and other church communicators to share the materials they have prepared for the church’s celebration May 20 of World Communications Day.

A selection of bulletin inserts, advertisements, videos and radio spots sent to will be posted online.

As of this morning, the site already featured materials from Ecuador, Italy, Peru and Spain. And, of course, from the Vatican.

Pope Benedict XVI chose as this year’s theme: “Silence and Word: Path of Evangelization,” and issued a message on the theme calling for media efforts that help people find places for silence and for reflection in their lives.


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