Saint John Paul II’s advice to Catholic Apostolates during a Global Pandemic

Reviewing Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Letter on the importance of technology to Catholic Apostolates

Make sure to get your free copy of ‘The 10 Commandment of Catholic Fundraising’. It’s a book that highlights the ten tasks you should do to keep you focused on your mission and hit your fundraising target, every time.

I think we are starting to get used to our “new normal “… or at least it feels that way to me.

Don’t get me wrong – there’s still plenty of challenges, twists, turns, and bad news coming.

But you shouldn’t take this journey alone.

With new challenges come new opportunities. Saint John Paul II taught us this in his Apostolic Letter, The Rapid Development. He recognized that technology would help Catholic apostolates fulfill their missions.

He says, ‘Do not be afraid of new technologies! These rank “among the marvelous things.”‘

We’ve seen technology help do this in these past weeks; Livestream Masses and Adoration, online education, virtual retreats, and online donation requests.

What can Saint John Paul II teach you about the rapid development of technology and how it can help your Catholic apostolate?

That is what’s this week’s discussion is all about:

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Question: Which saint, Catholic document, or Church teaching has given you great advice on how to raise funds? Please leave your comment below.

Transcript

In the next few minutes, I’m going to share with you three recommendations from Saint John Paul II, and how his guidance can help you improve your fundraising in today’s environment.

Hi, I’m Brice Sokolowski, founder of CatholicFundraiser.net, a website completely dedicated to helping Catholics just like you with their fundraising. So whether you’re starting out or you’re a pro or feel that you are somewhere in the middle, I think you’re going to get a lot out of this video and podcast.

Now, before we dive into what Pope John Paul II (our Patron Saint of Labor) had to say in his Apostolic Letter of 2005 about how to fundraise in current times, I want to make sure that you download my ‘10 Commandments to Catholic Fundraising.’ These are 10 essential points of advice that I really recommend you read and refer to as a resource because they’ve helped me tremendously and they have helped thousands of other Catholic fundraisers., So please, before you go any further, download — absolutely for free — The 10 Commandments to Catholic Fundraising.

Okay, now let’s dive in for a closer look at the words of our canonized Pope John Paul II. He wrote an apostolic letter called The Rapid Development (that’s the shortened title, it’s actually known in full as, The Rapid Development of Technology) written over 15 years ago. In his letter, he outlined his recommendations regarding what Catholics should be doing with technology. This is very appropriate given the current times that we’re living in. Not just for the pastoral life, but also for how Catholics fundraise.

I promise that you can gain huge benefits from the recommendations of this very, very holy and saintly man on what you can do today to improve your fundraising and improve your Catholic mission’s message.

The first thing that he recommends in this document is that step one is learning how to use modern media. You have to use the Internet. We see that especially right now, where much of what we’re doing requires the use of the Internet. So if you’re a little bit behind the technological curve please take this opportunity to learn how to use the Internet. He recommends, (and I’m quoting) how there has been an ever-greater need for education in the responsible and critical use of the media. So don’t worry that you haven’t learned how to use it before – the point is, take the time to learn how to use it nowt. One of the best ways to learn is to go over to my website, CatholicFundraiser.net, and start by downloading my Free Guide and then, just follow me along to learn how to use it (trust me, it’s easier than you think). I regularly use the Internet for my fundraising because it’s a great way of connecting with people, and that’s a great first step towards helping you learn how to use the Internet, too.

The second step, he says (and I’m paraphrasing here) is that we must take responsibility for what’s out there. If such communications offer a positive way forward for humanity, then the means of using the resource must be found. He then goes on to say that, to make possible true participation in management by all cultures, co-responsibility must be nurtured. What I get out of this is that we, as Catholics, are responsible for what’s out there, and you see this particularly in the growing use of Livestream Masses, prayer retreats, and communicating with people via email and/or video conferencing. Even using the phone falls under our taking responsibility for what’s out there.

If Catholics aren’t finding what they’re looking for, that’s our responsibility. How does this connect with fundraising? “Fundraising” simply means people are donating to you because they believe in what you’re doing. And if they see that you are still running full steam ahead, even when times are difficult, and the only way to connect with people is online, well, that’s going to help your fundraising. If you can connect with people online, you’re going to be able to connect with a lot more people. Consequently, you’re going to be able to ask for more donations because, well, you’ve got more people looking at you! So step up and take responsibility for the messages that are going out there. And the way to take that responsibility is by learning how to use technology and with it, taking control of your mission and message. Then you can say, ‘You know what? I’m not going to a complaint that there’s not a lot out of opportunity there. I’m going to make sure that what our Catholic community needs to be out there as a message is actually out there. That’s his second point.

Saint John Paul II’s next point involves dialogue. He recommends that we need to “move the conversation” (and I’m quoting him). We should never forget that, among the great possibilities of mass media, are the promotion of dialogue, of becoming vehicles for reciprocal knowledge related to solidarity and peace. They can become a powerful resource for good if used to foster understanding between peoples. So I paraphrase this, you’ve got to move the conversation from just being on the Internet to be a one-on-one dialogue, and you can easily do this by live streaming.

When conducting a live streaming chat make sure you’re also inviting people to continue the conversation by email or by calling you directly. Make yourself accessible by taking advantage of all these many wonderful ways to move your Catholic dialogue. Heed Saint John Paul II! His advice and references will help you foster relationships and grow your fundraising. Some people may think that fundraising over the Internet is about just having a donation page and a “donate now” plea. But that’s not how you do it. The way that you fundraise online is starting the conversation there and then moving it to a more intimate relationship with those people. That means more, not less, one-on-one interaction, whether it’s in person, over a phone, or via email.

So these are three wise (and prescient) recommendations from Pope John Paul II’s 2005 Apostolic Letter, The Rapid Development. I hope that you have found them helpful. Please share them with your friends and with any and all Catholic communities where you feel his God-filled love and advice could be of benefit.. I look forward to speaking with you next week, and blessings until then.

Want to fundraise more for your Catholic apostolate?

Make sure to get your free copy of ‘The 10 Commandment of Catholic Fundraising’. It’s a book that highlights the ten tasks you should do to keep you focused on your mission and hit your fundraising target, every time.

Brice was born and raised Catholic. After enjoying a successful career in technology consulting with Accenture and PriceWaterhouseCoopers in cities across the United States (Dallas, San Francisco, Paris, Abu Dhabi, and London) around the world, he left it to help his Catholic diocese in London, England with a fundraising campaign. The campaign went on to raise over $60 million, the largest sum ever raised for the diocese and in the United Kingdom.

Learning from professional fundraisers, he figured out the basics and then left the diocese to focus on what he loves most: building Catholic charities that change the culture, save lives, and save souls.

Brice currently lives in Texas and travels the world helping Catholics fundraise. This website is where he shares what he is doing and how he is raising funds for Catholic causes and missions. That way you can move more quickly with your next appeal.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Mother Mary and Saint Joseph, protect us as we announce the good news of God's beloved Son, Jesus Christ.