Sherry Hayes-Peirce considers the need to use social media to share messages of faith and peace.
Our hearts are so heavy! Even though most of us avoid watching news like the plague, we’ve all heard about the raging wars in Ukraine, Sudan, andthe Middle East. It conjures such fear, anxiety and helplessness in my mind and heart.
Where is the love for neighbor? Why has there been such a profound disregard for humanity? Some will blame it on too much television, social media, or various political leanings.
How do I find peace? As a former television news journalist who routinely watched news morning, noon and night, I had to STOP! I watch the nightly news and BBC in the evening only. On my way to work every morning, I pray a surrender prayer I learned from the Hallow app: "O Jesus, I surrender myself to You, take care of everything."
I work at my church, for my archdiocese, and as a Catholic conference speaker, but I struggle to make time to spend time with the Lord daily in a substantive way. I am not in control of the outcome of so much in the world, so praying is all I can do. Whenever I take the time to walk into my church and sit in the Adoration Chapel for a while, my soul feels such peace. Just sitting in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament in silence is powerful! Focusing on the presence of Jesus that resides in the Eucharist allows me to be present with the Lord in real time. Sometimes when sitting there I can release the fear, anxiety, helplessness, anger, frustration or loneliness. In my head a conversation happens that helps to quell my negative feelings.
There is good and bad with everything. So while there is a lot of really bad content on social media, there is equally much that is good on it too. The catalyst for my becoming a Catholic social media influencer came from watching a show on CatholicTV called Inter Nos, hosted by Bishop Robert Reed. The episode that sparked my digital discipleship focused on why the Church should be a part of social media and the guest was Bishop Paul Tighe. The now-bishop was a mere monsignor from Ireland at the time the show was filmed, and he simply said, “If the Church isn’t in the news feed it will not be present to an entire generation.” Then Bishop Barron became known as the “social media” priest and garnered many followers and sparked the Word on Fire ministry. Certainly, his shares are a very good thing!
If you want to turn the tide of negative posts in the social media feed, be the change you want to see! The medium is here to stay and instead of thinking that not using it will make it go away share your faith through your feed. If you follow my social media accounts, I share my faith as part of my daily posts. I choose to share about love, peace, and Catholicism. My posts on my grief journey won me an invitation to write and record a novena for widows and widowers for Hallow.
"Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like Your Heart."
My devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus draws me to Mass every First Friday to pray a litany to the Eucharist and the sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary for the intention of peace in the world. I follow many Catholic pages on social media, listen to Catholic podcasts and download Catholic apps like Hallow. Hearing the word of the Lord coming through ear buds creates a sensation that the word reverberates through my entire body. Living near the beach allows me to be in nature often. Just looking out to the ocean calms my mind, body and spirt.
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard Your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
Copyright 2023 Sherry Hayes-Peirce
About the Author
Sherry Hayes-Peirce is a Catholic social media strategist, blogger, conference speaker, podcast guest and contributing author of the Ave Prayer Book for Catholic Mothers. She serves as Digital Engagement Coordinator for American Martyrs Catholic Community in Manhattan Beach, CA, and St. Monica Parish in Mercer Island, WA. Sherry has a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and is grateful to be a digital disciple of Christ.