All hands on tech!

Father Mark Goldasich is the pastor of Sacred Heart parish in Tonganoxie. He has been editor of the Leaven since 1989.

by Father Mark Goldasich


I didn’t breathe normally until last Friday morning when I got to the office and could see The Leaven with my own eyes. The reason for my anxiety was simple: How would the Feb. 23 issue look?

You see, we had a little bit of a problem last Tuesday, our deadline day. Overnight on Monday, the skies decided to rain down ice. I awoke on Tuesday morning to the pinging of a text message. That’s never a good sound at 6:39 a.m. It was Anita McSorley, our Leaven managing editor, warning the staff of the hazardous weather conditions.

Dozens of text messages and emojis later, it was determined that none of us was going anywhere safely anytime soon. That’s a big problem on a deadline day. We had a good portion of the paper done, but not all of it. And although we could “theoretically” do the paper online, we’d never “actually” done it that way before.

Further complicating things was that we were caught off-guard by the severity of the storm. Most of the staff hadn’t even taken their laptops home!

Well, to make a long story short, everything did work out last Tuesday. We did get the paper to the printer on time and you did get a Feb. 23 issue as usual.

There might have been a few more errors in it than usual, since the set of eyes that looks at the pages after I do the corrections didn’t get to do her due diligence.

Otherwise, though, we fared OK and learned from the experience. I don’t know what we would have done without our modern technology.

Now, moving from technology’s practical use to its purely entertainment side, I also spent last Friday distracting Leaven staff members from their work by carrying an empty wine bottle from office to office. (And, before you ask, I was not drinking on the job.)

The bottle once held a red Australian wine called 19 Crimes. These crimes in 18th-century England resulted in their perpetrators being “punished by transportation” to Australia, instead of suffering the gallows. Since this is a favorite wine, I wondered what those crimes might be every time I opened a bottle.

Then one day — duh — as I was tossing the cork into the trash, I noticed that it had a number and words on it! I was surprised to discover that each cork has a different crime stamped on it.

That’s interesting in itself, but why was I carrying that empty — that is, cork-less — wine bottle around last Friday? Because its label speaks!

Well, actually, it’s the criminal on the label that does all the talking. When you hold your smartphone (with the LivingWine app) up to the label, the convict blurts out his story. It’s called AR or augmented reality. You have to see it to believe it. It is beyond cool.

I recall these two instances whenever I hear someone lamenting how bad technology is. Actually, technology is morally neutral; it’s what we do with it that makes it something good (getting our job done easier or providing wholesome entertainment) or something bad (cyberbullying or spreading fake news).

As Catholics, we’re so lucky to have patron saints to guide and help us in so many of our daily tasks, like using internet technology. Pope John Paul II proposed a patron for the internet: St. Isidore of Seville. He died in the year 636, and left behind a 20-volume work, listing everything known in the world at that time.

The pope felt that Isidore’s quest for knowledge fits right in with internet users’ curiosity about our world today.

I thought about printing the prayer of St. Isidore of Seville here, but, since he’s the patron of the internet, it would be so much more appropriate for readers to use the Net to find it on their own.

Just Google “Internet prayer of St. Isidore” and you’ll be good to go.

In the meantime, I’ve just got to say: St. Isidore of Seville, thanks for “teching” care of us on our icy deadline!

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