After talking with some friends at Catholic Relief Services, the international charitable arm of the American Catholic Church, we found the perfect project. All of the royalties now go toward building a computer lab at a school in the Diocese of Mombasa, Kenya. Because CRS fronted part of the money, the lab has already been built (see pictures here). We have ten computers, ten monitors, and even a computer literacy instructor.

In that way, The Church and New Media closes the so-called digital divide and acts as a ticket for many young Africans to the "digital continent."

So, alternative media and the church—not just joined in evangelization, but in service to our brothers and sisters, throughout the world, is that the bottom line?

You got it. I'm convinced, as I mentioned before, these are the most powerful communication tools the Church has ever encountered. They can reach more people in less time than anything in the past, all basically for free.

Each of the last two popes have called the Internet a "gift to humanity." Why is that? I think it's because the Internet extends the Church's entire mission. Evangelization and faith formation are no longer constrained by time and space. Social media can enrich community and it has never been easier to practice solidarity on a global scale.

Sacramental solidarity?

By no means is new media a replacement for the sacraments or a solution to all that ails the Church. But for a communal people who worship a communal God, these tools do offer a compelling potency. As Blessed John Paul II encouraged, it's up to us to "cast wide our nets" and, in the words of Pope Benedict XVI, "give the Internet a soul."

That's downright inspiring; it's a wonderful book and one that has the potential to do much good in ways 'visible and invisible.' I'm betting you will have a great success with this, and expect we'll be hearing a great deal more from you in the future!

Thanks again—I can't wait for the Book Club!

For more conversation on The Church and New Media, visit the Patheos Book Club here.