Lent 2014 Ponderings: #Ashtag and the New Evangelization

If you’re hanging out on Twitter today, or Instagram or Facebook for that matter, you’ll see plenty of “selfie” New Evangelization going on as folks share via the #ashtag hashtag. As I type this, #AshWednesday is even trending on Twitter:

#AshWednesday trending on Twitter

Why does this matter? Aren’t selfies with ashes just the same brand of self-centered behavior as regular selfies?

I’d argue not. So, I believe, would my buddy Deacon Greg Kandra. Or the USCCB, which has a whole Ash Wednesday selfie album going on (send yours to media-relations@usccb.org). And FOCUS gets in on the act with an awesome post that will help you ID the “eight types of ashes you might get” or see on your friends #ashtag selfies.

Just in the same way that we walk into our places of business, our homes, and our communities with ash-remnants spread across our foreheads, when we venture into our social networking communities and display our ashes, we make a statement. Hopefully in the same way that we are prepared to explain our ashes to questioning friends who may not understand them, we can do so in places like Facebook and Twitter. Mark 16:15 tells us, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” Social media evangelization offers us new and exciting ways to proclaim.

Today Bishop-Elect Myron Cotta proclaimed to the faithful at our 8:00 Mass as he marked our foreheads with ashes, “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel.” The gospel tells us to share the Good News. When we use the tools at our disposal to do so in new, innovative, and even fun ways, we become a part of the New Evangelization.

A question for you: Have you received your ashes yet today? Was your parish crowded?

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About Lisa M. Hendey

Lisa Hendey is the founder and webmaster of CatholicMom.com and the author of The Grace of YesA Book of Saints for Catholic Moms and The Handbook for Catholic Moms. Lisa writes for several online and print publications, enjoys speaking around the country and is a frequent television and radio guest and host. Visit her at LisaHendey.com and connect with her at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram.