MediaArk.com was conceived of, as a demonstration tool for small parish teams interested in developing their own educational online resources, especially for evangelisation purposes.
It is not intended to be exhaustive, or comprehensive, but rather indicative of the kind of third party content available online. Such content can easily become part of a parish’s own repertoire of available media, suitable for answering some of the many pressing questions that both Catholics and non-Catholics may wish to ask.
Evangelisation will not happen by hoping that people, whether they be atheist, lukewarm, á la carte, or lapsed Catholics, will just walk through the church door! So, initially parish teams have to go out to meet them, and increasingly in today’s world, that means online!
Ideally, a parish should establish a ‘Media Ministry’ or indeed form one with a cluster of other parishes for this purpose. Sometimes it makes more sense to share this work, so that the burden is much easier to manage. It may also prove more helpful in looking for volunteers to help out within a parish cluster than a single parish.
As parishes become proficient at managing their media/websites, they can then start to develop their own original material. This can include coverage of a range of local stories, news, and/or events. All of which can help draw visitors to the site, and hopefully from there engage with other aspects of the site e.g. Catholic teaching, explanations, stories, or pastoral education programmes etc.
For some ideas on what this means and how it might be achieved in your own parish, please view this video by Bishop Robert Barron given at a recent USCCB conference in November 2019. Link Here.
The stories that appear in MediaArk.com are in a format called a blog ‘post’. On this site, they often follow a ‘theme’ e.g. teaching on a particular topic/person e.g. Thomas Acquinas, or Pro-Life stories, or conversion stories etc. So, you are more likely than not to view several posts on a similar topic in quick succession.
Search: for a particular topic, theme or story
You can search for stories that interest you via the ‘search’ field at the very top right-hand side of the webpage. Just click on the ‘magnifying glass’ icon, and type in a keyword. All stories that carry that keyword will appear on a newly generated page for you.
Alternatively, you can just click on whatever ‘Tags’ are listed at the bottom of any page, such as ‘Art,’ or ‘Heliocentric’, or ‘Fr. Mike Schmitz’ etc., which will then take you to a page with a complete list of posts covered by that particular tag.
Nomenclature of MediaArk
The name Media+Ark was chosen for a number of reasons:
- The scriptural link with Noah’s Ark
- The notion of a repository, of safety, of preservation
- The symbolic use of an Ark/boat also represents the Catholic church (Mark 4: 35-41)
- Dedication to Our Lady, as protector or Ark of Christ/The Word – Logos
The content of this site is mainly Catholic in nature, and geared towards a broad range of people, from the committed Catholic, to the curious non-believer, but also towards Catholic parishes and their media ministries.
Other topics of a non-religious nature may also be covered, if pertinent in some way to the ethos of this site. For example some Christian/evangelical videos/websites may have some insights that can be very useful for Catholics, but Catholics should be aware that there are still basic differences between the denominations (our brothers and sisters in Christ), and should ask the Holy Spirit to guide them in their viewing/reading.
If in doubt about any particular topic please refer to your local parish priest or spiritual director for guidance.
Visitors to the site can optionally subscribe to receive a newsletter, usually once a month. You will find that option in the right-column of every page where a post appears, with the exception of the site’s front or home page.
The monthly eNewsletter will highlight new content available since the previous month’s eNewsletter. You can also view each eNewsletter in an archive which can be a handy way of getting an overview of topics covered in any particular month. Link here. Visitors can also view an archive list of all individual posts. Link here.
Why this icon and not one of Noah’s ark?
The ‘House of Loretto’ is in some ways an updated Noah’s Ark.
Loreto is the site of the House of Mary, who herself was a human ‘ark’ for her Son Jesus (Logos). The birthplace of Mary was preserved from destruction, according to tradition, by being miraculously transported by angels, as the icon depicts, from its original location in Ephesus to Loreto.
So, metaphorically speaking, this site is a form of ‘ark’ or ‘repository’, which also ‘transports’ its content – ‘Logos’ – via the internet (see under ‘Dedication‘ for more background on the House of Loretto).
Header image: House of Our Lady of Loretto via commons.wikimedia.org