SMC Conference Explores Use of Digital, Social Media to Promote Pope Francis Era, Catholic Evangelization

Pope FrancisSaint Mary’s College presents the innovative religious digital media conference “Sharing the Good News in the Era of Pope Francis,” a weeklong exploration of the use of digital and social media in Catholic dialogue and evangelization. Sponsored by the Bishop John S. Cummins Institute for Catholic Thought, Culture and Action, the conference will be held June 8-12, 2015 in Saint Mary’s Soda Center, 1928 St. Mary’s Road, Moraga, Calif. 94575.

“The walls which divide us can be broken down only if we are prepared to listen and learn from one another… The Internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity. This is something truly good, a gift from God.” ––Pope Francis, “Communication at the Service of an Authentic Culture of Encounter,” excerpt, January 24, 2014).

The ‘Sharing the Good News’ conference is inspired by Pope Francis’ engagement with the world and includes insightful workshops on topics such as the Church and digital communication and social media storytelling. It features a keynote presentation by Reverend Anthony Gittins, C.S.Sp, professor emeritus at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago and author of 15 books on theological and anthropological topics and on mission and spirituality.

Daily lectures on the theology of digital communication will be offered by Daniella Zsupan-Jerome, author of the recently published book Connected toward Communion: The Church and Social Communication in the Digital Age. A professor of liturgy, catechesis, and evangelization, Zsupan-Jerome teaches at Loyola University, New Orleans. The conference also includes a Pontifical Mass with the Most Reverend Michael C. Barber, S. J., bishop of the Diocese of Oakland, California as the Eucharistic presider and homilist.

"This first of its kind conference includes opportunities for Catholic school and parish educators and religious and lay partners to engae in the rich conversations about, and training in, the creative uses of social media communication for the work of the Church," said Brother Charles Hilken, FSC, director of the Cummins Institute.

Social and digital media workshop facilitators include Saint Mary’s Communication Professor Ed Tywoniak, director of the College’s W. M. Keck Digital Studies Laboratory and members of the institution's professional team of interactive and instructional media and web technologists.

The cost for conference attendance is $105, with a discounted rate of $85 for religious educators. On-campus housing is also available. For more information, contact Sally Jamison in Saint Mary’s Office of Mission at (925) 631-4406 or or register online at

Find out more on social media at Facebook, Instagram, Google Plus and YouTube. Also, follow the Cummins Institute on Twitter and talk about the conference using the hashtag #sharingthegoodnewssmc

“Sharing the Good News in the Era of Pope Francis” is part of the series of workshops presented by the Cummins Institute, which serves to fortify the Catholic identity of the College. The Institute is at the forefront of efforts to link the Church and Catholic higher education faculty and communities in the advocacy and celebration of the Catholic intellectual tradition. The Institute is named after Bishop John S. Cummins, who served the Diocese of Oakland for more than 25 years.


Michael McAlpin, Director of Media Relations
Saint Mary’s College of California
(925) 631-4222(925) 878-9535 c

About SMC
The Saint Mary’s College of California experience inspires learning that lasts a lifetime. For more than 150 years, the College has provided students with a rigorous education that engages their intellect and spirit, and awakens a desire to transform society. Guided by the Christian Brothers, the Catholic Church’s oldest order dedicated exclusively to teaching, the College enrolls more than 4, 200 students in undergraduate and graduate liberal arts and business programs. For more information visit Saint Mary’s College at and just 23 miles east of San Francisco.