This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. By using this site, you consent to the placement and use of these cookies. Read our Privacy Policy to learn more. ACCEPT
Covid-19 Updates
Stay up to date with how the Covid-19 virus is affecting our churches, schools and communities at

Evangelizing Through Beauty with Catholic Creatives

Posted on Nov 15, 2019

By Dave Plisky

This past Saturday, the DeSales Media team attended Catholic Creatives’ Regional in NYC. DeSales Media was a sponsor of the regional meet-up along with OSV Institute, the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, and the Alliance for Defending Freedom. Catholic Creatives Regionals are single-day gatherings in partnership with Our Sunday Visitor. The ideas sparked at the regional meetings will be eligible to be submitted for the OSV Innovation Challenge.

The Catholic Creatives Regionals are exciting events that transcend the goals of industry networking events. For Catholic Creatives, “networking” means forming a vulnerable, authentic community united in a common mission. Although Catholic creatives can often feel alone in their professional milieu, nothing about Catholic Creatives is self-referential or congratulatory. The ethos of the CC Regional was deeply evangelical. And its telos is deeply missionary: it’s all about discipleship through beauty. 

How did they do this? The Catholic Creatives Regional combined four different programmatic elements to offer an effective workshop that built community, inspired, and restored.


Psalm worship God

Photo by Nienke Broeksema on Unsplash

It’s easy to get sidetracked, to get caught up in our egos or forget that our work is ultimately a service of love for God. Prayer helps us keep our eyes on our true goal—God—by helping us practice putting God first through a gift of time and attention each day. Catholic Creatives got started in the right direction by opening with prayer at the beginning of our time together. In the middle of the afternoon, we took a break to pray the Liturgy of the Hours together. They gave the ancient prayer a fresh spin with contemporary music, that honored the prayerfulness of the moment. This combination of ancient and new is a classic Catholic gift to the world: innovation that retains what’s always been good.

Inspirational Speakers

To that point, at the NYC CC Regional, Anthony D’Ambrosio shared a moving talk on his own journey with vulnerability. Vulnerability is a theme woven through Catholic Creatives’ five pillars, particularly their commitment to “speak the unspoken.” 

“Speak the Unspoken means always speaking the truth in love no matter how uncomfortable it is.” Art is born from vulnerability—when we allow ourselves to question our own certainties, we can set out to make something truly creative and unique, something inspired. After Anthony’s talk, we saw vulnerable art in action with Clare McCallan’s inspiring spoken word performance. Clare is no stranger to DeSalescheck out the work she did for us in the Diocese of Brooklyn. Her poetry performance perfectly embodied Catholic Creatives’ commitment to communicating ideas through beauty. Read The Tablet‘s profile to learn more about Clare.


Catholic Creatives has a remarkably strong commitment to community. In their own words, they strive to be: “the family dinner table, a place of communion, friendship, joy, and unity.”

They strive to “foster a family ecology where creatives find belonging, spiritual nourishment, and are organically connected to the network of learning, mentorship, and patronage they need to be healthy and to grow.”

And that is the level of connections that were being made throughout the day. I found myself having deep conversations about experimental approaches to film with complete strangers. But because the relationship was forged in the atmosphere of openness, collaboration, and vulnerability, the conversation went to that place organically, and it felt right. It is so gratifying to feel the Spirit moving among the artistic Catholic community right here in NYC. 

And it’s with that spirit that we came together in a final Spark Session …


Pencils spark ideas

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Our first workshop session was a Spark Session, a collaborative free-writing exercise similar to brainwriting, which is designed to get your ideas out of your head and onto the page. The goal of the Spark Session is to get your own inhibitions and hesitation out of the way so that your wildest, most creative ideas come to the forefront. The Spark Session encourages participants to be vulnerable. Often it’s our fear and our own second-guessing that gets in the way of our own creativity. Throughout the entire session, we were encouraged to write out every idea that came to mind: to keep writing no matter what! Everything in our brains had to come out on the page—no idea was a bad idea. We then had to share out our ideas of the small group with the entire group! This ability to bare ourselves, fail, and make creative mistakes is an essential part of the creative process.

The workshopping we participated in had a purpose. The final Spark Session encouraged groups to create ideas that could be refined and considered for the OSV Innovation Challenge. The OSV Innovation Challenge is a joint initiative by Our Sunday Visitor and Catholic Creatives to support and promote new visionary ideas among Catholic Creatives to further the mission of the Church. The Challenge is encouraging entrepreneurs, artists, pioneers, and visionaries to submit their proposals for impactful ideas that will further the mission of the Church. Check out their website for more information. So go ahead, grab your creative friends—the ones with the wacky ideas, appetite for beauty, and courage to make things real—and spark some ideas that ignite change.


DeSales is in the news! Check out “Catholic Creatives Spread the Gospel Through Beauty,” The Tablet, Nov 26, 2019.

DeSales Pick: Appletopia

Posted on Nov 8, 2019

Introducing DeSales Picks: books that we recommend to deepen your knowledge of Catholic conversations around technology. We begin with Brett T. Robinson’s Appletopia, published by Baylor University Press.

We are what we imagine.

Brett Robinson’s Appletopia offers a compelling glimpse into the mind of Steve Jobs and his brainchild, Apple. Robinson examines how Jobs’ “Appletopia” appeals to our human religious imagination. In order to create Apple’s massive cult following, Steve Jobs marketed Apple products to appeal to religious and technological imaginations. Not only did Apple products reach new heights of popularity, but Apple’s product marketing also carved a new way of imagining the way technology shapes our lives. Appletopia

Robinson’s book makes a compelling case that the language of marketing is worth both a religious person’s attention and vice versa. Advertising appeals to our imaginations, our emotions, and our affective framework for the world. Thus, the language of marketing often can reveal the state of our affective cultural framework.

Robinson, Director of Communications at the University of Notre Dame’s McGrath Institute for Church Life, finds that the language of technology deeply resonates with the language of religion. Each field relies on symbols to make esoteric concepts accessible—“to make the unknown sensible.”  In religion, neophytes require simple, pictorial explanations (like St. Patrick’s shamrock) for deep theological mysteries like the Trinity. In marketing tech products, manufacturers use appealing images to explain its product, made of mysteries—CPUs, RAM, and the cloud—to the technologically illiterate.

When Apple told us to “think different,” it didn’t just coin a slick slogan. It presciently described the revolution it performed on our collective imagination. Apple taught us—its audience—to think about technology differently. Apple’s products would actually reshape the way we think. New technologies not only reflect the culture but also shape the culture. And culture shapes our imaginations.

Apple iPod Ad

by thethreesisters via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

By examining iconic Apple ads and key marketing campaigns, Robinson reveals the underlying ethos of Jobs’ inventions. Robinson hones in particularly on the first iPod marketing campaigns, which portray the iPod as a tool to reaching euphoric transcendence or elevated consciousness. But Jobs isn’t the only tech guru using religious imagination. Robinson examines flagship Verizon and AT&T campaigns, which also promise transcendence, transformation, and connectedness.

While not alarmist, Robinson makes a compelling case for Catholics working in the digital world to think about how their products appeal to their consumers’ imaginations and how they shape communal practices and culture.

Communities organize themselves around what is of “ultimate concern,” the thing at the top of their “hierarchy of order.” Which, simply put means that everyone worships something. Human community and existence are always ordered around a person, cause, or achievement: if not God, then an idol: a god we’ve chosen for ourselves.

For many of us, work achievement, success, money, even relationships, or (all too often!) ourselves sits at the top of our “hierarchy of order.” Robinson demonstrates compellingly that this religious sensibility and need to worship continues to exert influence on us, despite being ignored in our popular media and sidelined in our contemporary social discourse. Our cravings for belonging and transcendence are now being presented to the masses through the devices that have become nearly ubiquitous in our lives: iPhones, iPads, and personal computers.

Apple has pitched its products as “tools for seeking a lost sense of transcendence.” Apple markets these products as solutions to our “restless hearts.” But the iPhone age has taught us the painful lesson that these products feed off of our restless needs but ultimately leave them dangerously unsatisfied.

What can we learn from this?

Clearly the followers of “Appletopia” hunger for something more. Although the restless hearts of the information age may flock to the new cathedrals of Apple stores, the religious experience Apple consumers long for can only be found through a Church. The Church can actually fulfill the promises that Apple offers through its marketing that promises euphoria, connectivity, transcendence. The Church offers a truly transcendent experience of God through encountering the divine in prayer and liturgy.

Robinson’s book outlines a demographic—a congregation if you will—that has been primed for the proselytization by the cult of Appletopia. Apple’s religiously-influenced marketing highlights a field ripe for evangelization. “The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few” (Mt 9:37). There is an audience ready and waiting for a new kind of digital evangelization.

In the community of the Body of Christ, the Church offers the world the universal community and personal transcendence for which we hunger. And so the Church must be able to speak to this new culture and community shaped by Steve Jobs’ revolution of technology and imagination.

5 Trends the Church has Led in the Past

Posted on Oct 23, 2019

supernova NASA

Is the Church “anti-tech”?

The Catholic focus on tradition often gives the impression that Catholics are stuck in the past. And this impression is often borne out by the Church’s resistance to cultural changes and revolutions and skepticism towards new ideas. The Church’s public image can often give the idea that the Catholic Church is not a future-thinking institution.

But the Church is not an obsolete organization that discourages innovation. The Church teaches that human curiosity and human ingenuity are made in the image and likeness of the Creator. The Church has been a leader in science, technology, and innovation since its founding 2,000 years ago.

Here are a few of those innovations that might surprise you!

The Hospital

In the Roman Empire, some cities housed temples of healing to the god of medicine, Asclepius. Soldiers, spread throughout the empire, made use of military medical institutions that tended to them when injured or ill. But Christian leaders were the pioneers of public philanthropic residences to care for travelers, beggars, and the elderly. The first Christian hospitals were staffed by male and female monastics. They were not temples or churches, like the temples to Asclepius. They were sites of the best medical care they had available, which they offered to those in the city who could not afford a private physician.

One of the original hospitals, in Turkey, was known as the “Basiliad” named after St. Basil, one of the Cappadocian fathers. This hospital ministered to the poor and diseased, and offered food, shelter, and rest to those free of charge from the monastic orders who ministered to them.

Since broad social structures like “hospitals” have many prototypes, it’s often hard to declare one singular origin point for them. But historians note three factors that define the beginning of modern hospitals: inpatient facilities, professional medical caregivers, and care given for free.

The Christians focus on caring for Christ in the face of the poor spurred them to care for the poor at the margins of the city. And their belief that Christ was in the face of the sick, the poor, and the outcast spurred them to overcome concerns for their own purity or status. Giving care and dignity to anyone, no matter who they are or how rich they became a defining feature of the Christian hospital. The Christian commitment to care for the patient until death was a true innovation. It bore witness to the Christian belief in the dignity of all people, particularly the poor.

The hospital was a revolution of medical care. And even more so, caring for those who had no status or capital in the city was an act of radical Christian love. And, clearly, the hospital is a trend that had staying power!

The Book

Christianity came onto the world scene just as a new technology was also emerging: the codex. Originally, written works were preserved on scrolls, usually made of lightweight rolls of papyrus. Roman scribes took notes on wax tablets with two sides that could be inscribed and erased. This innovation of writing on both sides of the tablet was a forerunner of the codex. The codex is the style of book that we are most familiar with today.

In the second century AD, as the Gospels were being copied down and spread among Christians, they began to be written down on codices, and this trend continued.  In the second and third centuries, even though most secular texts were still written on scrolls, a higher percentage of Christian texts were being written on the codex.  The codex wasn’t invented by Christians, but Christians showed considerable foresight in embracing this technology more quickly than the wider community.

The codex outpaced the scroll by a few key advantages. The codex allows the reader to flip between different sections easily to find a reference quickly. The codex is also a mnemonic device. Breaking up the book into physical spaces (the left page, the right page, the beginning of a paragraph, the upper left-hand corner or right before a page turn), helps the reader remember the words of the book better.

Not only did the Bible popularize the codex, but during the middle ages, Christian monks preserved the codex. The monks kept the tradition of reproducing codices through a method called illumination alive in Europe. The Bible again was at the vanguard of book evolution in 1455, when Johannes Gutenberg printed a bible on his new printing press.

The Bible has been at the forefront of bibliographic innovation since the second century. Even in the digital age, religious publishing–particularly of bibles–has grown in the United States. The Bible remains one of the most published books throughout the world.

Architectural Innovations

What do Notre Dame de Paris, St. Peter’s Basilica, Westminster Abbey, St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, and the Hagia Sophia have in common? Each one of these is a Christian church and is also a world-class feat of architectural engineering.

The Church has led architecture with many innovations that have made new heights possible, quite literally.

If you visit most major cities in Europe–and even if you pop into some small towns–you’ll discover that at the heart of the city is a beautiful Cathedral. The Gothic architecture that decorates so many of these European masterpieces is a Christian invention. Gothic architecture departed from and developed out of the older Romanesque style of the Roman Empire.

Some of these cathedrals and basilicas demonstrate the new heights of innovation achieved: the flying buttresses of Notre-Dame are a Gothic innovation that allows the stone supports to bear the weight of the delicate stone structure hollowed out by yards of jewel-toned stained glass.

Although these Gothic innovations are now revered examples of architectural beauty, at the time, these inventions were derided by some Catholics who still favored the Romanesque style as ugly experiments.


Photo by Richard White via Flickr

Westminster Abbey boasts an impressive display of an English invention, the fan vault, which covered the vaulted ceilings with intricate stonework. One of the oldest and most impressive feats of Christians architecture was the pendentive dome. For 1000 years, the unchallenged crown jewel of these domes was the dome of the Hagia Sophia. It was surpassed in 1590 by the completion of the pendentive dome atop the brand new St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Church architecture demonstrates the abundance of human creativity and skill. The Churches of Europe are a testament to the investment the Church has made in funding and supporting innovative architects.

Jesuit Mechanics

During the Baroque period, a spirit of invention was in the European air. In the seventeenth century, Galileo Galilei invented the telescope, the first calculator was invented, the pocket watch and steam pump were all created.

As the spirit of invention swept the European continent, one of the bold new religious orders, the Jesuits, took full advantage of this new spirit of creativity and ingenuity. Jesuits began to experiment with new mechanics, particularly in churches and in their theatrical productions.

Perhaps the most famous of these Jesuit inventions is the altarpiece by Andrea Pozzo, SJ in the Church of the Gesù in Rome. The church’s altarpiece features a painting of the Trinity by Fr. Pozzo, which is lifted up by a mechanical system to reveal a silver statute. The original was captured by Napoleon, but there is now a plaster reproduction in its stead. Each day at 5:30pm, in the Church of the Gesù, visitors can witness this Baroque spectacle at work!

Scientific Origins of the Universe

In the early 1920s, developments in physics and cosmology boomed, as scientists responded to and developed new theories based upon Alfred Einstein’s discovery of the theory of relativity (E=MC2).

The current leading theory of the universe’s origins, The Big Bang Theory, was first hypothesized by Belgian priest Georges Lemaître. When it was introduced into the popular culture, the Big Bang Theory created quite a stir.

Announced just two years after the Scopes Trial of 1925, the Big Bang Theory seemed to many Christians to contradict the Genesis account of creation. To this day, many American fundamentalist Protestant groups, who believe that the Genesis account is a scientific text rather than a poetic text, continue to believe the Big Bang Theory contradicts Scripture.

Vatican II responded to the concerns of the faithful, in the document on Sacred Scriptures, called Dei Verbum, meaning “The Word of God.”

For truth is set forth and expressed differently in texts which are variously historical, prophetic, poetic, or of other forms of discourse. The interpreter must investigate what meaning the sacred writer intended to express and actually expressed in particular circumstances by using contemporary literary forms in accordance with the situation of his own time and culture (§12).

Dei Verbum assured the faithful that there was no conflict between faith and science, between God’s word revealed in creation and Sacred Scripture. Fr. Lemaître himself saw in the Genesis account of creation a symbolic and poetic reflection of the scientific account of the Big Bang. Lemaître believed these two accounts harmonized, rather than contradicted.

supernova NASAToday, a broad consensus of scientists, Christian and non-Christian, believe the Big Bang is the most probable explanation of the origins of the universe.

Tech companies look 7-10 years in the future, to see what trends are coming down the pike. If the Church followed suit, how would the Church respond to new technologies on the rise?

Any trend has both negative and positive components. The Church examines each trend and discerns the valuable from the chaff.  As a 2,000-year-old startup, the Church benefits by not always following trends and by questioning the ideologies of the current moment.

How might the Church respond to upcoming trends, from artificial intelligence to cryptocurrency?

The Church has never been afraid of technological advancements. The Church has always fostered within her walls artists and artisans who push their crafts forward for the greater glory of God. And, in the case of the codex or the Big Bang, the Church has often helped identify an idea that seems marginal or misunderstood and then ushers it into the mainstream. The Church is an invaluable aid in helping men and women who work in technology understand their work ethically. Pope John Paul II notes in Evangelium Vitae that technological and scientific research must consider the ethical consequences of their work. Pope Francis echoes John Paul II in his 2015 encyclical Laudato Si when he writes:

Technological products are not neutral, for they create a framework which ends up conditioning lifestyles and shaping social possibilities […] Decisions which may seem purely instrumental are in reality decisions about the kind of society we want to build (§107).

As we contemplate the new technological tools and trends that are available to us, the Church invites us to ask what kind of society we want to build. With bold evangelical courage, we can then be trendsetters, instead of followers.

The Eucharist: the Medium is the Message

Posted on Oct 9, 2019

If you’re a member of the marketing world, you’ve most likely heard the aphorism “the medium is the message.” This truism is a staple proverb of marketing and digital communications. But did you know that that classic phrase was coined by a Catholic? Marshall McLuhan, who coined the phrase, was a leading media scholar and a devout Catholic convert. 

Brett Robinson, of Notre Dame’s McGrath Institute for Church Life, wrote a lovely profile on McLuhan during Summer 2018. This past summer, Aaron Riches of Benedictine College in Kansas wrote an incisive essay meditating on the liturgical aspects of McLuhan’s work.

Riches’ essay prompted me to think further about what role the internet and digital communications play in the New Evangelization—or, really, in evangelization, period. The core unit of Christian evangelization is the local Eucharistic community—the parish. The parish gathers together to do the liturgy together, to offer themselves up to God through Christ, and to be transformed into Christ for the world.

His essay raises particularly provocative points about the nature of technology. Riches draws on some of the ideas about the human being and technology from the twentieth-century German philosopher Martin Heidegger. Heidegger believed that the human person—you and me, as we walk around in our daily lives—reveals the truth of being in the world around us. 

While the finer points of phenomenology might not appear to have a place on a digital communications blog, Heidegger’s ideas remain salient for any conscientious, creative communications professional.

Heidegger’s image of the human being as a “revealer of truth” is a pretty easy idea for Christians to latch onto. We are made in the image and likeness of the one true creator God—the foundation of all truth.

“Being” by its very nature is an “unconcealment,” continues Heidegger; it makes some hidden truth manifest for everyone to see. If we think about who Christ is, we see that Jesus is the being par excellence, as he reveals God himself—not just an image and likeness, like us—into the world. 

Besides their own “being,” Heidegger notes an additional way that humans disclose truth, i.e., making truth visible in the world: what the Greeks called poiesis, that is, art: poetry, music, painting, drama. Art reveals the truth about what it means to be a human being.

Just so, argues Heidegger, technology, from the Greek word techne, can reveal the mystery of Being—of God and God’s truth—into the world. Technology, then, has a pretty lofty calling: not only to reveal the truth, but to be a way of revealing God—capital-T Truth.

In a lot of our news cycle, we encounter the failings of the internet: social media platforms that distort truth, news sites that become echo chambers, or those web communities that even actively foster hate. We read about the failings of tech companies. We experience data breaches or loss of privacy.

Given the internet’s many publicized shortcomings, is it really a space that can reveal truth? Can Heidegger’s lofty ideas about technology apply to contemporary digital communications?

In his book The Medium and the Light: Reflections on Religion, Marshall McLuhan says that each new medium—television, phone, radio, internet—opens up a new way of existing in the world. It opens up new experiences and new ways of thinking for each human being who encounters this new medium.

When Jesus told the disciples to bring the Gospel to the “ends of the earth” (Mk 16:15), he expressed the hunger of the Divine Love to encounter every person in every place. Jesus’ words also contain in them a perennial truth: there is no place the Christian Gospel doesn’t belong; there isn’t a single place on this earth Jesus can’t belong. 

There isn’t a single place we can’t bring Christ, there isn’t any place, no matter how large, how small or how strange that Christ doesn’t desire to be a part of. The internet, as a new medium of communication, opens up a new way for human beings to interact. It opens up a new medium for Christ to make himself known.

Pope Francis has called the internet a “gift from God” to be used wisely. The internet can promote authentic relationships with our fellow humans. But McLuhan suggests that it can be even more than that, it can be another place where we can learn more about God and God’s love for us.

One of DeSales’ priority tech initiatives is to develop parish websites. How do parish websites, I wonder, work as a way of bringing people to the truth, revealing the God of truth and life to others? 

As we work to build parish website software, we constantly remember that our goal is not to keep eyeballs glued to the digital page, but rather to drive visitors to in-person encounters: with parish staff members, with the community of the parish, with the Body of Christ. The website is the parish’s digital front door, as it were, an inviting space that serves to attract new members, educate about the Catholic Church, or welcome in strangers looking for a place to go to Mass.

In his essay, Riches claims that the purest form of media, where the medium is the message entirely, is the Catholic liturgy. In the liturgy, the Sacramental Sign of Christ’s body and blood isn’t just a symbol, it really is Christ. The liturgy reveals the truth of who God is: the God who is the bread of life, the life of the world, who sustains us, and who transforms us into bread for others.

The Eucharistic liturgy is the most powerful means of evangelizing. In the Eucharist, we encounter the perfect message: Christ. As the source and summit of our Catholic faith, the Eucharist is the clearest form of communication with the God of love. The liturgy offers a much stronger connection than any other medium—digital or otherwise—can offer.

Update: Check out Molly Gettinger, Communications/Branding Manager for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, reflecting on communion and connection on the internet for the Grotto Network.

Can Christian Community Exist in the Workplace?

Posted on Sep 18, 2019

Desales Catholic CompanyHow do we build Christian community in the workplace? Christian companies who are competing with corporations in the secular sphere can often feel pressure to model company culture more on our competitors and less on the Christian Gospel. One Christian company, however, believes that Christians can do business differently—and puts its money where its mouth is.

Plough Quarterly, a publication of Plough Publishing House, published an article this summer about Christian workplace. Plough strives to build a Christian community in the workplace that mirrors the community in their home lives. Plough’s article asked a provocative question: is Christian business an oxymoron?

As a Catholic company, DeSales Media also strives to be a thoroughly Christian organization. We believe being a Catholic company means witnessing Christ’s message not just in what we say, but in what we do and how we do it. DeSales prides itself on being a company whose Catholic identity is present not only in the products we create or in the clients we serve, but, rather, that our Christian witness permeates our entire ethos. In fact, one of our core goals is to be an inspiring place to work—for Catholics and all our employees.

Plough Publishing House, based in the beautiful Hudson Valley village of Walden, NY, is run by the Bruderhof Communities. The Bruderhof Communities are Christian communities who commit to simple living and to radically “share all things in common” (Acts 4:32). Founded by Eberhard Arnold in 1920, the Bruderhof intentional communities are made up of families and single men and women. They have communities in the United States, Europe, the United Kingdom, and have a special mission to care for the Church in Jerusalem.

Plough interviewed John Rhodes, who ran Bruderhof’s business, Community Playthings, which creates beautiful furniture for classrooms and daycares. The Bruderhof business, says Rhodes: “grew in a way that served the community’s needs rather than sucking the life from it.” 

Rhodes’ language actually sounds a lot like the language of Pope Paul VI and Pope Benedict XVI! In their respective encyclicals, Populorum Progressio (“The Progress of Peoples”), and Caritas in Veritate (“Charity in Truth”), each pope calls for our economic models to serve our brothers and sisters. The Christian Gospel encourages a counter-cultural attitude to let our concern for others lead our business practices rather than concern for profit margins.

As I read the interview, and as I read the messages of our former popes, encouraging Christian models of business, a DeSales at Christmasword that came to my mind was integration. The goal of Christian discipleship is to integrate our walk with Christ into all aspects of our life. Christian businesses ought to strive to integrate our individual spiritual lives of prayer and our communal liturgical life into our business life. Inspired by Rhodes’ interview, then, here are the five main ingredients in creating a good Christian workplace community.

  • People Come First: Lots of companies pay lip-service to “teamwork” or “building relationships.” But you can’t just talk the talk, you have to walk the walk. For Christians, who believe that God is present in our neighbor, relationships really do come first and foremost. As members of the Body of Christ, we can’t just talk about community or care for our neighbor—we have to live it. We have to make sacrifices for it. Plough’s article places importance on “the economics of love” or what Pope Benedict XVI would call the “economy of gift.” How do we operate according to the “economy of love” rather than by the rules of the market in our workplace?
  • Keep Your Mission at the Center: It seems counterintuitive for businesses to not first and foremost strive to increase profits. But former CEO Rhodes says that: “in reality, money is a surprisingly poor motivator. A much stronger motivator is purpose.” Purpose-driven companies can afford to care for their workers more. They can invest in competitive benefits packages and employee morale. Mission-driven companies can afford to care for the whole person. Because their employees are motivated by mission, not by paycheck, purpose-driven organizations are already lightyears ahead of competitors.
  • Leisure, the Basis of Good Work: Tech companies are infamous for stocking up their office campuses with all the amenities their employees need: gyms, cafeterias, napping pods. While these extra benefits can increase employee well-being, they also extend the hours that employees are at the office. And extended hours at the office can lead to mental stress and burnout, as employees have less time to spend sharing life with their community. Work is a part of our human vocation, but cannot be idolized. Through taking small sabbaths through prayer, silence, and finding restorative niches of creativity and rest with family and community, the worker is energized to make creative, personal work that glorifies God. 
  • Use Technology Judiciously: As a digital communications company, DeSales recognizes that many of our competitors may find this principle strange. Shouldn’t companies in the business of the internet drive consumers to stay on the web? Not for us. The goal of all of our work is to connect communities in real-time, outside of the space of work. We build products that strengthen and foster in-person communities and parishes and connect new members to them.
  • Foster Gratitude: Gratitude is a huge game-changer. German mystic Meister Eckhart is famous for the quote: If the only prayer you said was ‘thank you’ that would be enough. Gratitude helps bolster team morale and begins with leaders—leaders who offer gratitude to employees for the work they do and promote a culture of gratitude and joy in the work environment.

DeSales PartyPlough’s article resonates with our work at DeSales, because we prioritize serving and caring for our work community. One of our four main goals is to “be an inspiring place for Catholics to work.” We try to incorporate our Catholic faith into what we do through praying together twice daily as a whole workplace community, by celebrating birthdays and special occasions as a community, by offering solidarity and aid to victims of natural disasters as an organization, and by committing as an organization to invest in the personal, professional, and spiritual development of each member of the staff. 

To make teamwork and relationship our true goals, we have to work to place our coworkers first. Putting people first, rather than company goals, might seem like a risk. But we believe that this is a risk worth taking: you can’t preach the Gospel if you’re not living it at home (or at work). How are you helping to form your workplace according to Christ’s kingdom today?


Interested in working at DeSales Media? We have positions open. Check out our careers page for more information.

Being Made New: Exploring the Christian Imagination at DITA10

Posted on Sep 13, 2019

by Renée D. Roden

Last week, I had the great pleasure of attending the Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts (DITA)’s tenth-anniversary conference: Creation & New Creation: Discerning the Future of Theology & the Arts. Hosted at Duke Divinity School, DITA10 was a joyful and life-giving ecumenical gathering of Christian artists, pastors, and theologians.

Despite the threat of Hurricane Dorian, the week’s rainclouds dissipated quickly, and the weekend at Duke University proved to be a beautiful slice of North Carolina summer. The beauty of the campus promoted vibrant conversation; the natural beauty of the created landscape outside inspired the conference-goers’ scholarly and artistic reflections on the divine beauty we were contemplating inside through theology and art.

At the end of each day, I left Duke’s campus feeling truly full of life. Lectures on Christian theology, visual art, discussions on the role of art in the church, symposia on art as a means of social activism and breathless conversation with fellow church leaders, artists, and scholars left a hum of dynamic energy buzzing through my blood. As I reflected on the events of each day, I would ponder the image of Pentecost. Acts 2:1-13 describes the Holy Spirit’s descent using the images of wind and “tongues of fire” to describe the presence of the Holy Spirit igniting the nascent church.

In Acts, this catalyzing energy of the Spirit spurs the Church out from its sanctuary in the Upper Room and into the city. Among the city’s crowds, the Spirit of Divine Unity makes itself manifest as the Apostle’s proclamation of the Gospel crosses linguistic and ethnic divisions.

This image of the birth of the Church is a sublime photo-negative of the Tower of Babel (Gen 11:1-9). At Babel, pride and hubris divide the human race. But, at Pentecost, the love of Christ sends us out into the world, the body of Christ bound together by the love of the Trinity.

DITA10 was filled with this evangelical urgency to spread Christ through the medium of human creativity, informed by what DITA’s director Jeremy Begbie called “articulate Christian wisdom.”

Jeremy Begbie Conducts

Jeremy Begbie, conducting New Caritas Orchestra | photo by Jordan Haywood, courtesy of DITA

At DITA10, I was struck by the power of the arts to promote Christian unity. Gathered together in chapels, seminar rooms, and theatres, Christians of all denominations—Anglican, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist—conversed easily, based on their shared belief that the arts can and should make God’s glory present in the world. 

To Catholics, this might seem like a fairly humdrum statement: the arts can be incarnational and sacramental forms of communication. That is, poetry, music, and sculpture can not only echo God’s action of taking up a human, material form; they manifest channels of God’s grace in the world.

Art has been a divisive topic throughout Christian history. During the earliest days of Christianity, the debates of the iconoclast controversy hotly debated the question: were Christians allowed to make images of God? After the Council of Hieria, called by Emperor Constantine V in 754, the church began to suppress the making of icons. Icons were stripped from public places and church buildings. 

Many theologians and saints protested this wave of iconoclasm. One of them, St. John Damascene, argued that art was an essential means through which Christians could bear witness to the incarnation.

I do not worship matter, I  worship the God of matter, who became matter for my sake, and deigned to inhabit matter, who worked out my salvation through matter. I will not cease from honoring that matter which works my salvation. (On Holy Images, 16)

Thus, Christians who are united in the belief that images and art—poems, dance, theatre, and painting—can and should be used by Christians to portray the God who took up human flesh, are also united in the belief that, as John Damascene says, God’s grace is alive and palpable. God became flesh so that we could experience God’s grace not just in our minds, hearts, and souls, but with our eyes and ears, our tongues and hands. Christians who assent to this truth, even if they disagree on others, are powerfully united in a shared vision of who God is and how God is active in the world.

I was struck by the power that belief in this incarnational and sacramental vision of the world had in making grace present. I could almost see the fire of grace burning in the conference participants, as we watched, listened, and talked. As we bore witness to the music of the New Caritas Orchestra we heard Saturday night, in the prophetic art of Steve Prince, in the poetry of Christian Wiman, we not only watched incomparable artists at work, we received that Pentecost charge to bring this embodied grace in art to our wider communities.


As we were sent forth from the conference, several thoughts occurred to me:

First, Catholics can sometimes neglect the cause of Christian unity. We might sometimes feel shy or unsure about building relationships with our fellow Christians. But Christ prays that all his followers “will be one” (Jn 17:21). So we, too, should all pray for the unity of the Trinity to be present in the unity of Christians throughout the world.

Furthermore, our fellow Christians can teach us Catholics to see our own tradition afresh. The first time a presenter at the conference dropped the word “sacramental” at the conference it made an audible impact. You could almost see the verbal spark ignite the audience with the fire of inspiration: yes! the music we had just heard, the poem we had witnessed, Chagall’s White Crucifixion—of course these are sacramental!

I thought of how frequently we use the word “sacramental” in Catholic conversations about theology and art and how, subsequently, the power of that word can become dulled by familiarity. Catholic churches are filled to the brim with stained glass windows, statues and overflowing with beautiful music. We take for granted the material world’s ability to reflect the God who entered into it.

The Roman Catholic tradition has thousands of years of using the arts to sing God’s praises, to share the story of creation in art, sculpture, drama, to use architecture to inspire wonder, awe, and praise. In our liturgical spaces and in our political, communal spaces, the Catholic Church has used art to form our imaginations. Thus, Catholic artists, liturgists, and church members should not be afraid to join other Christians in using art as a means of filling the world with beauty that sings of the glory of God.

It’s miraculous, as J.R.R. Tolkein’s famous poem “Mythopoeia” celebrates, that artists are able to mold creation to shine forth the glory of the God who entered into creation. DITA10 helped me see that miracle afresh.


For the past year, I have felt very discouraged about the Church. I think many conscientious Catholics who have followed the news and felt the pain of the men, women, and children who have been hurt by the priests, bishops, and leaders who have been appointed to care for them probably can relate to that discouragement. Too many spaces in our world are infected by cycles of hurt and violence. We long to be saved from this cycle of victim and aggressor.

DITA10 in Goodson Chapel| Photo by Jordan Haywood, courtesy of DITA

Listening to the rhetoric of our current political cycle, we can sense our entire country longing for renewal and change, for justice to spring up, as the Prophet Isaiah writes. Thomas Merton wrote in his spiritual classic New Seeds of Contemplation, that the only revolution that can change anything is the revolution that began with Christ.

The only power that can “really upset the injustice and iniquity of men is the power that breathes in the Christian tradition.” It’s heartbreaking to see “the injustice and iniquity of men” occurring in the Church, in the very institution charged with overcoming injustice.

Christ’s love, which conquers our sins and divisions through the healing unity of the Eucharist, needs to heal not only our political communities, but our own ecclesial community. Over the past year, I have been feeling keenly how deeply in need of this healing our church community is.

How beautiful, then, to be reminded by my fellow Christians of the treasure that the Catholic Church holds. In the Eucharist, the Catholic Church clings to the sacrament that is at the core of Christian art. All Christian art and imagination seeks to make the grace of the invisible God tangibly present. God entered tangibly into our world as a man once, two thousand years ago, and God comes to us again and again, each morning at Mass, in the guise of bread, the art of human hands.

At the Mass, creation is always being transformed into the new creation. In the Eucharist, artists can find sustenance from the source of the new creation: the Word of God made flesh, who seeks to make each one of us into a masterpiece for God.

Amazing Parish at the Napa Institute 2019

Posted on Aug 6, 2019

By Dave Plisky

At the end of July, I had the honor of attending the Napa Institute’s Annual Summer Conference.Napa Institute DeSales Over fine wine and great conversation, we exchanged ideas, hopes, and fears about the future of the Church. Saturday’s conversations focused on the theme “Amazing Parish,” so it’s no coincidence that Patrick Lencioni of The Amazing Parish presented that day. Named “one of the most in-demand business speakers” by the Wall Street Journal, Pat is a management consultant who uses his professional gift for teamwork-building to care for the organizational health of the Church.

I saw Pat in action earlier this summer, thanks to Archdiocese of Cincinnati Communications Director Mike Schafer, who invited me to The Amazing Parish Conference in Cincinnati. You can see and hear Pat’s passion for yourself in this video. Pat describes the Five Misconceptions of a Parish Team, based off his latest book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. By identifying and correcting these five misconceptions, pastors and parish leaders can better care for the organizational health of their parish.

While at Napa, I also attended the Catholic Leadership Institute’s breakfast and morning break-out session, entitled “I Want Your Parish to Close and Here’s Why.” Despite the provocative title, CEO Dan Celluci quickly reassured attendees that he didn’t actually want anyone’s parish to close.

Dan showed us how parishes in the United States too often use the wrong metrics to measure the health, and vibrancy of their parish. But, by focusing on the right key performance indicators (KPIs), a parish might be able to more accurately measure their successes and identify their growth areas.

So what are the right KPIs for a parish?

According to the Catholic Leadership Institute, current research indicates that when a parish church building closes, 40% of parishioners don’t find another church to attend, Catholic or otherwise. They stop going, period. If your parish church were to close tomorrow, would you beat that statistic? Would fewer than 40% of your parishioners find another place to attend Mass?

L’Alto Catholic Institute and The Evangelical Catholic also presented on Saturday at Napa. Tim Glemkowski, President and Founder of L’Alto Catholic Institute, is no stranger to DeSales. Tim was our emcee here in the Diocese of Brooklyn for DeSales Media’s World Communications Day 2017 event.

Our Lady of the Grapes

Both L’Alto and EC are apostolates that give new parish leaders and their teams the building blocks to become the missionary disciples they can and must be in order to transform the church. While Tim and the L’Alto Catholic team focus on reinvigorating parishes, The Evangelical Catholic runs multiple programs to increase the faith engagement of Catholic leaders in parishes, dioceses, and colleges.

All three of these ministries provide videos and exercises designed to walk parish leaders through the process of revitalizing their parish. Each of these three ministries approach the issue of church attendance and parish community, and each participate in the call for evangelization in a unique way.

We at DeSales are thrilled to see this lay-leadership-led renewal in the Church. The work of Catholic Leadership Institute, L’Alto Catholic Institute, The Amazing Parish, and The Evangelical Catholic goes hand-in-hand with the technology we are creating for parish and diocesan leaders. Every parish deserves a beautiful website. But the truly inspired, mission-driven leaders among our parishes and dioceses will realize the full potential of such a digital space as a means of promoting evangelical spirit among, with, and for their parishioners.

***For those attending the Napa Institute’s 2019 Principled Entrepreneurship Conference in Manhattan October 21-22, please come and visit us at DeSales! We’re just over a hop across the East River in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.

Images Courtesy of the Napa Institute.

DeSales Media Group’s 2019 Gabriel & Catholic Press Association Awards

Posted on Jul 1, 2019

DeSales Media and its properties received over 50 Catholic Press Association awards at this year’s Catholic Media Conference in St. Petersburg, Florida.


Television Station of the Year

Narrative Series (Storytelling) – Spanish Language Television
Al Pan Pan Season 3, NET TV

Single News Story – Less than 60 Minutes
On the Block with Ed Wilkinson 

Special or Documentary – 60 minutes or Longer – Television
Ring of Faith


Advertising Business/Marketing Professional of the Year
William Maier
The Tablet, DeSales Media Group

Best Multimedia Package – Depiction of Religious Life
Answering the Call – Future Priest Profiles
The Tablet, Kathryn Engesser, Antonina Zielinska, Currents News

Best Website – Diocesan
Brooklyn Priests


Best Use of Video on Social Media
Christmas 2018
Dave Plisky, Randy Schwab, Len Camporeale

Best Use of Social Media for Breaking News
Cardinal Dolan Press Conference
The Tablet, Liz Faublas, Michelle Powers, Matthew O’Connor, Currents News

Best Freestanding Presentation of Online Video – Feature
Rest in Peace Baisy Apostol
The Tablet, Liz Faublas, Kathryn Engesser, Melissa Enaje, Currents News

Best Multimedia Package – News
Life at the Border, Parishioners Fear Immigration Realities
The Tablet, Jorge I. Domínguez-López, Tim Harfmann, Currents News

Best Use of Live Video in Social Media
Live from Dublin: The Challenge of Pope Francis to the Church in Ireland
Michelle Powers

Best Press Release
Diocese of Brooklyn, Brooklyn Diocese Volunteer Group, “Catholics Care” Heading to Puerto Rico on a Mission Relief Trip
Adriana Rodriguez

Best Diocesan Appeal – Fundraising
2018 Annual Catholic Appeal – Diocese of Brooklyn
John Heyer II, Theresia Nurtanio, Israel Ochoa, Elimelec Soriano

Best New Website
Diocese of Brooklyn, Diocesan High School Fair
Dave Plisky, Len Camporeale, Israel Ochoa

Best Single Ad Originating with the Publication – Online Ad
Currents News, Watch Us at Our New Time
Israel Ochoa

Best Reporting on Vocations to Priesthood, Religious Life or Diaconate – Weekly Diocesan Newspaper, Circulation 25,001 or More
The Tablet, Paying Down Debts Before Saying ‘Yes’
Melissa Enaje

Best Print Circulation Promotion Campaign
Support The Tablet, Celebrating 110 Years
William Maier, Dave Plisky, Israel Ochoa, Theresia Nurtanio, Ed Wilkinson

Best Example of Effective Advertising Promotion Originating with the Publication or Publication’s Website
Wedding Guide 2018
JoAnn DiNapoli, Kimberly Bee, Kerry Burke, Israel Ochoa, Theresia Nurtanio

Best Regular Column – Scripture
Sunday’s Scripture
Fr. Jean-Pierre Ruiz

Best News Writing on National or International Event – National Event, Diocesan Newspaper
The Tablet, US Bishops Visit Texas-Mexico Border
Jorge I. Domínguez-López-Lopez

Best Editorial on a National or International Issue – Weekly Diocesan Newspaper, Circulation 25,001 or More
The Tablet – Can We Have a Rational Discussion About Immigration?
Ed Wilkinson

Best Editorial Page or Section – Diocesan Newspaper
The Tablet
Editorial Staff

Best News Writing on a Local or Regional Event – Weekly Diocesan Newspaper, Circulation 25,001 or More
The Tablet, Brooklynites Rally Against Nation’s Policy at the Border
Melissa Enaje

Best Personality Profile – Weekly Diocesan Newspaper, Circulation 25,001 or More
The Tablet: Her Name Was Caroline
Fr. Christopher Heanue

Best Ad Copywriting
The Tablet: Brooklyn Priests – Men’s Vocation Retreat
Israel Ochoa, Fr. Sean Suckiel

Best Special Supplement or Special Issue with Advertising Emphasis
The Tablet, Gift Guide 2018
JoAnn Dinapoli, Kimberly Benn, Kimberly Benn, Kerry Burke, Israel Ochoa, Editorial staff
Best Editorial on a National or International Issue – Weekly Diocesan Newspaper, Circulation 25,001 or More

The Tablet: Culture of Death
Fr. John Cush

Best News Writing on National or International Event – National Event, Diocesan Newspaper
The Tablet: Encuentro: A New Era for the Church in America
Jorge I. Domínguez-López-Lopez, Melissa Enaje

Best Reporting on Vocations to Priesthood, Religious Life or Diaconate – Weekly Diocesan Newspaper, Circulation 25,001 or More
The Tablet: Seminarians’ Call to Duty Prepares for Priesthood
Melissa Enaje

Spanish Publication of the Year
Nuestra Voz
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio (Publisher), Msgr. Kieran Harrington (Publisher), Vito Formica (Executive Director of News Content), Jorge I. Domínguez-López (Editor-in-Chief), Joaquin Badajoz (Deputy Editor), Israel Ochoa (Art Director)

Best Coverage – Pro-Life Issues
Nuestra Voz, Marcha por la Vida en Washington; ¡Viva la Vida!; Hermanas de la Vida: en Defensa de los Que Aún No Tienen Voz
Christopher White, Jorge I. Domínguez-López, Marietha Gongora

Best Coverage – Violence in Our Communities
Nuestra Voz, Los Límites Del Espanto; Indignación y Dolor Nacional, La Crónica de Otra Masacre Escolar; ¿Amarnos o Armarnos?
Jorge I. Domínguez-López, Nancy Agosto, Cruz-Teresa Rosero

Best Essay Reflecting on Faith Formation
Nuestra Voz, Derecho y vida: ¿Pueden Casarse los Primos Hermanos?; Los Padrinos y El Pecado Del “Habriaqueísmo;” El Problema de la Pena de Laicización y Excomunión
Msgr. Jonas Achacoso, JCD

Best In-Depth Analysis
Nuestra Voz, Gaudete Et Exultate: El Papa Habla Sobre el Demonio
Jorge I. Domínguez-López

Best Interview
Nuestra Voz, 9/11/2001: La Fecha Que Nadie Olvida
Marietha Gongora

Best Regular Column – Feature Story
Nuestra Voz, Emprendedores
Marietha Gongora

Best Regular Column – Best News Writing- National/International Event
Nuestra Voz, 4,645: La Cifra Símbolo Del Olvido en la Isla del Encanto, La Verdadera Hora Cero de Los Latinos en La Era Trump, Ventarrones en la Casa Blanca
Nancy Agosto

Best Regular Column – Scripture and Spiritual Life
Nuestra Voz, Mi resolución es Permanecer; De Repente Todo Cambia; Cuando Dios Empuja
David Bisono

Best Coverage – Papal Trips
Nuestra Voz, El Papa Francisco Visita Chile y Perú
Mario Paredes, Darío López Capera, Jose Antonio Varela Vidal

Best Regular Column – Feature Story
Nuestra Voz, Ofrendas Votivas: Un Puente Material Entre Lo Humano y Lo Trascendente
Joaquin Badajoz

Best Parish Profile
Nuestra Voz, San Benito José Labre: Donde Reinan la Caridad y la Buena Voluntad
Marietha Gongora

Best Reporting – On Latin America
Nuestra Voz, Venezuela: Cada Vez Más Aislada y los Problemas en Fase Aguda; los Gestos de Papa Francisco Con Venezuela; El Régimen de Maduro Acentúa la Represión
Macky Arenas

Hot Topic – Best coverage on the Sexual Abuse Crisis
Nuestra Voz, ¿Una Crisis Sin Fin?; Saltan a la Prensa Tensiones Internas de la Iglesia Chilena; Lecciones de la Crisis Chilena
Jorge I. Domínguez-López

Best Photo Story
Nuestra Voz, Así se Vivió la Semana Santa en la Diócesis de Brooklyn
Jorge I. Domínguez-López, Melissa Enaje, Ed Wilkinson, Marie Elena Giossi

Best coverage of Canonizations
Nuestra Voz, Monseñor Romero: Hacia los Altares; Pablo VI, Un Santo de Nuestros Tiempos; Sobre San Romero, San Pablo VI y La Sorprendente Afinidad de Ambos Por El Opus Dei; San Oscar Romero: Un Santo Radical
Jorge I. Domínguez-López, Jose Antonio Varela Vidal, John L. Allen, Jr.

Best Editorial Page
Nuestra Voz, Tres Años Después: Otra Ciudad, Otro Taxista; ¿Que Nos Queda Por Aprender?; San Oscar Romero: Un Santo Radical
Jorge I. Domínguez-López

Best Personality Profile
Nuestra Voz, La Disciplina Sacerdotal… y la de las Artes Marciales
Darío López Capera

Best Regular Column – General Commentary
Nuestra Voz, Historia se Escribe con H de Humor
Enrique del Risco (Enrisco)

Best Multiple Picture Package
Nuestra Voz, La Devoción a la Morenita del Tepeyac
Jorge I. Domínguez-López


Posted on Apr 29, 2019



Adriana Rodriguez

John Quaglione 



Brooklyn – DeSales Media Group is proudly announcing that Programming and Production Director and Host of NET TV’s “Walk In Faith”, Craig Tubiolo, has been nominated for an Emmy Award in the Sports Documentary Category The honors will be given out at the upcoming 62nd Annual New York Emmy Awards.

A Brooklyn native, Tubiolo has been nominated for his production of “Ring of Faith”, a documentary film which portrays a link between the sport of boxing and the practice of religion. The film features actor Mario Lopez, former professional boxer Paulie Malignaggi, two-time welterweight world champion boxer Shawn Porter, Vatican officials and Showtime Sports President Stephen Espinoza among others. The film will be released in July by Virgil Films.

“I am honored to have been nominated for a New York Emmy Award and am truly grateful to all those who helped make “Ring of Faith” a reality. This film highlights boxers who have been gifted by God and have used their talents to steer people onto a path of success,” said Craig Tubiolo.

“Ten years ago, I had the vision to produce a film that’s centered around what happens inside of a boxing ring, from the perspective of it being life’s stage. At the moment a boxer steps into the ring, they only see the red and black colors of the corners. Everything else is left ringside. It is my hope that this film will help broadcast this message across religion and culture,” continued Tubiolo.

The 62nd Annual New York Emmy Awards will take place on Saturday, May 4.

To view the “Ring of Faith” trailer, visit To arrange an interview with Craig Tubiolo, media is encouraged to email

Find Peace Through Forgiveness on Reconciliation Monday

Posted on Nov 27, 2018

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, in partnership with Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York, has reserved Monday, Dec. 17, 2018, for Reconciliation Monday.

All parishes in the Diocese of Brooklyn and the Archdiocese of New York will have priests available to hear confessions from 4-8 p.m. on this special day.

Use our Parish Locator to find a parish near you in Brooklyn or Queens. For the Archdiocese of New York, you can search here.

“The sacrament of reconciliation is a sacrament of healing. When I go to confession, it’s for healing: healing the soul, healing the heart because of something that I did to make it unwell. Every time we go to confession, God embraces us.”
– Pope Francis