by Moira Cullings
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Pinterest is famous for inspiring people to try a new recipe or tackle a do-it-yourself project.
But Deacon Dana Nearmyer, the lead consultant for the office of evangelization and Catholic formation of youth, is hoping it might pique interest in something more than a great tater tot casserole.
He is always looking, in fact, to inspire spiritual growth through ordinary means.
That’s why he’s launched a Pinterest account called Archdiocese of KCK Parents. Deacon Nearmyer’s purpose in creating the page, he said, is to provide the social media platform as “a Web page of advice and comfort, and one that meets parents where they’re at.” At its core, the page is meant to showcase the Catholic worldview through a modern, relatable approach.
The Archdiocese of KCK Parents page exhibits a variety of boards designed not only to strengthen the faith of viewers, but also to give them practical advice in times of trial, as well as ideas for happy, healthy relationships. Deacon Nearmyer invites parishioners to share with him what they are interested in or find helpful so he can add their ideas to the page.
The account is targeted at parents, but provides information relevant to all young adults seeking hope and encouragement.
“Over the last couple of years,” said Deacon Nearmyer, “there’s been this incredible swell of interest in helping parents to be the first and best teachers,” which is also a major part of Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann’s 10-year vision. This Pinterest page sets out to equip parents with the proficiency and wisdom they need to be those teachers.
Nancy Borisov, a parishioner at Sacred Heart of Jesus in Shawnee, has followed the Archdiocese of KCK Parents account since it was launched and is a real fan.
“It has so many topics that I’m interested in and find comforting,” she said. “You know you’re getting good, solid Catholic teachings, lessons and ideas that you are free to use and help make your family a better domestic church.”
Social media may appear to be another distraction from spiritual progress, but this is not necessarily true, said Deacon Nearmyer.
Instead, it can be a vehicle that helps people “to be connected.”
“The pope keeps talking about this thing, this closeness,” said Deacon Nearmyer. “And he says when we’re close to each other, faith can be transmitted over the lines. We’ll know when people are in distress and we’re able to help them.”
It is fitting this help come from sites like Pinterest, as many people turn to the Internet for comfort and counsel, he continued.
“The healing of the Eucharist and the healing of the church’s power are what we want to bring to the place where people spend the most time,” Deacon Nearmyer said.
Although 85 percent of people on Pinterest are women, he encourages men to get involved as well, as pages such as this will offer invaluable guidance that everyone can use.
Caroline and Emily Thompson also understand the need for a modern spiritual guide. In 2012, they started a blog called “Princess Prayer.” The sisters, who learned much from each other growing up, asked themselves, “What if there are young women out there who feel alone in their pursuit of holy living?” This sparked their idea to write a public blog.
Some of the Princess Prayer blog posts are among the things Deacon Nearmyer pins.
“Invoking the Holy Spirit is a powerful prayer that turns an everyday moment into something sacred,” said Caroline Thompson. “I think that’s what we try to write about: holiness in the everyday.”
“Anything seemingly secular can be used for the spiritual,” she added. “I think that’s what we hope to communicate in our blog. [It’s] as if to say, ‘Hey, this theology stuff is actually relevant.’ God doesn’t just want your ‘church self’ but your entire, exhausted parent, struggling student, enjoys a glass of wine, Facebook- perusing self.”
Both social projects, in fact, are connected through that one, essential message.
“Our faith isn’t confined to how we pray during church or anything like that,” said Deacon Nearmyer. “It’s how we live.”
To visit the Archdiocese of KCK Parents page, go to the website at: www.Pinterest.com/ArchKCK. To visit the Princess Prayer blog, go online to: My PrincessPrayer.Wordpress.com.
To create your own Pinterest account, visit the website at: www.Pinterest.com. Type in your email address and create a password, then click “Sign up.” On your profile page, you will be able to create your own boards and search for items to pin. Common boards include recipes, quotes, home décor, etc. After you have created your account, you can “follow” the new Archdiocese of KCK Parents account by visiting the URL above and clicking “follow” in the top right-hand corner.
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