Professor teaches Twitter course on St. Augustine’s ‘City of God’

Chad Pecknold, associate professor of systematic theology at The Catholic University of America, is pictured in a Jan. 24 photo. Pecknold teaches a Twitter course on St. Augustine’s “City of God.”

WASHINGTON — Students in professor Chad Pecknold's newest class come from Canada, Uruguay, France, Germany, England, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, and all across the United States, but two things unite them all — a printed copy of St. Augustine's "City of God" and their Twitter accounts.

Hearing God’s call … on multiple digital platforms

Pre-Theology I student Jake Braun posed recently at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary while checking Twitter.

Between classes at Missouri University of Science and Technology, junior Jake Braun killed time by "absent-mindedly scrolling through" Twitter at his apartment in Rolla.

A tweet by Father Brian Fallon, the archdiocese's assistant vocations director, stopped him cold.

"Yo St. Louis! If you think God's calling you to be a priest/sister, DM me! #subtle @stlvocations"

Braun, now 23, had indeed been thinking about the priesthood, more so in the previous year but going back to when he started serving Mass at about 7 or 8 years old, he said last month at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary.

Is it worth being a Twitter splitter?

I know people who gave up social media for Lent. I tried to go the other way. Plug in. Get social. Mention, hashtag and link.

My focus mostly was Twitter, a forum as volatile as it is friendly. It should be a great platform of evangelization for Catholic journalists. Through its mentions and hashtags, the Gospel message has potential to reach many people who wouldn't see stories in print. Often, those people are marginal — even hostile — toward the Church. That's OK. Jesus and His disciples didn't just preach to the choir.

TWENTY SOMETHING | Rising above Instagram envy isn't easy

Christina Capecchi

Melina Birchem has uploaded 777 images to her Instagram account over the past two years: sushi, Starbucks, her new tattoo, rosary beads, cowboy boots. Sometimes the juxtaposition is jarring. A glowing monstrance, a chilled margarita. A snapshot from waitressing, a prayer journal documenting her consecration to the Blessed Mother.

An evangelizing presence in the digital world

Who is the most influential person in the world?

Pope Francis, of course.

For the the third year in a row, Pope Francis' @Pontifex is the most influential Twitter account, according to "Twiplomacy" -- the study of world leaders' Twitter accounts and their retweet rates.

Pope Francis gets about 9,929 retweets for every tweet on his Spanish account and 7,527 retweets on average on his English account.

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey shares wisdom with students at alma mater Bishop DuBourg

Marcia Dorsey offered her son a virtual kiss after he spoke to students at Bishop DuBourg High School via Google Hangouts. Jack Dorsey is an alum of DuBourg and co-founder of Twitter. Teak Phillips |

One of Jack Dorsey's favorite classes at Bishop DuBourg High School was mechanical drawing. There was a certain precision to the work, but he also had the freedom to be creative.

Just about all of Dorsey's classes at DuBourg were avenues to explore creativity. They provided him a nurturing environment that would lead him on to great successes later in life.

Perhaps his greatest success: becoming @jack.

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