Faithful teen brings New Evangelization to social network
Dylana Smith is sharing the Catholic message via Instagram.
Meet Dylana Smith, a Catholic teen working with in her diocese with youth ministry. This inspiring sixteen-year-old is using Instagram, a social networking tool to promote the New Evangelization called for by Pope Benedict XVI among followers on the popular app.
Dylana Smith and Fr. Brent Maher at the Abbey Youth Fest.
SMITH: Instagram is a social media site much like Twitter and Facebook. It is a free application on smartphones. You take pictures of anything. It could be food, books, babies, anything. Many people use it to share scripture or encouraging quotes. As I was going through the pictures on Instagram one day that were on the subject of God, prayer, and Christianity I noticed a lack of Catholic presence among these.
It was mostly evangelical Protestants and non-denominationalists on there. I thought to myself, "Wow, Catholics really need to do something about that." It hit me as I said that: I am a Catholic. So instantly I created an account on this app and started posting pictures of Catholic saints, the Eucharist, icons, and quotes. Many times people will post a comment asking questions or challenging the doctrine of the Catholic faith. I then use my training in apologetics to explain what we believe and why. I feel like this is my mission for the Year of Faith. I hope to continue it until I can no longer.
COL: Why did you really decide to pursue this mission?
SMITH: For many years I wasn't interested in "Catholic stuff." In middle school I smoked, drank, and cut. I was really in a bad place. Then my youth minister (who I really didn't know) called up and asked if I wanted to go to Steubenville, Atlanta. I had been to my diocese's youth conference before, but I fell back into sin right after. So I go to Steubenville. I am not really excited about it. "Who wants to hang out with Jesus freaks all weekend?" I only went because some of my friends were going and it was a new place to travel to. Fast-forward to Saturday night. We're in Adoration.
There, Jesus spoke to me. He called me into the desert to be with Him. I tried to pull away, but when I was shown that He loved me for nothing I had done or will do, I had to give in. I offered myself to Him like a bride to her groom. I never looked back. I turned my back on all the vice and negative influences. That isn't to say that sometimes I give into temptation still, but now I know I have forgiveness waiting for me in Confession. I have the fulfillment that I sought for so long. That fulfillment is found in Christ and his Church.
COL: So who are your biggest fans on Instagram?
SMITH: Some of my peers. The ones to whom I've shown it to love it! It is still in its early stages so many of my peers are not aware of it. Yet.
COL: What are your plans for the future? You have developed an inspiring relationship with Christ, I might add.
SMITH: Currently I am an aspirant for a Carmelite community in the South. I am still discerning, but if I am not called to religious life, I hope to attend Mount St. Mary's in Emmitsburg, MD and graduate with a double major in Political Science and International Affairs with a minor in French. I would use that to become a foreign ambassador to a French-speaking country. At this moment, my plans are to enter the monastery after I graduate high school.
COL: Dylana, how can people follow your progress and mission on Instagram?
SMITH: If you want to join the movement, just create an Instagram account and follow @insta_catholic. Also, if you have skills in graphic design you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We need volunteers to create original images that can be shared on the page.
COL: Dylana, your story is very inspiring and a true example of New Evangelization in action. We wish you the best of luck and many blessings on your mission. God bless you and your work.
© 2012, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Dylana Smith, Instagram, teen, message, social network, New Evangelization
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