Social media and a grave visit

Social Media

Did you know that The Catholic Messenger is now on Instagram?

Lindsay Steele
Bradley Steele visits the gravesite of his grandfather, Brad Schoon, last month in Geneseo, Ill.

For years, we’ve been active on Facebook and Twitter, but more and more, young people are turning to Instagram. With so many young people leaving the church, it’s important to do whatever we can to engage this group. Please encourage the teenagers and young adults in your life to follow The Catholic Messenger on Instagram. We will post photographs, inspiring messages and more. Our Instagram handle is thecatholicmessenger.

RAGBRAI will be a great opportunity to engage on Instagram. If you take a picture with Bishop Thomas Zinkula, tag us and we will repost our favorites! You are welcome to use the hashtag #bicyclingbishop, as well.

Regarding our other social media accounts, we currently have about 1,250 followers on Facebook. If you aren’t currently following us, please do! We regularly post stories from the current issue of The Catholic Messenger, which you can share with your friends as a way of spreading the Good News. You may engage (respectfully) in the comment sections. Facebook also allows us the opportunity to share breaking news quickly, such as the appointment of a new bishop or state legislative rulings on issues important to Catholics. We also post bonus content, such as photo galleries from events. Find us by searching for “The Catholic Messenger.” Our profile photo is our logo against a black background.

Additionally, you can find The Catholic Messenger on Twitter at https://twitter.com/cathmsngr.

As always, you are welcome to share links to any of the stories on our website, www.catholicmessenger.net.

A grave decision

In my last column, I shared my experience with grief following my dad’s death 11 years ago. Thanks, readers, for all the messages and emails I received after the column was published.

Last month, after years of avoidance, I visited my dad’s gravesite alongside my mother, Renada, and my 2-year-old son, Bradley.

My mom drove us to the gravesite near the back of the cemetery as I wasn’t sure how to get there myself. As I was removing Bradley from his car seat, I found myself thinking about how unfortunate it is that he has to know death at such a young age. Especially in America, where life expectancy is pretty high, it’s natural to cope with this sad reality of life — its inevitable end — by putting it out of our minds and ignoring it until we are forced to deal with it. I think it’s natural to want to shield children from this reality.

I wasn’t sure what to tell Bradley at that moment. I wasn’t even sure what to tell myself; it had been 11 years since I’d been to the cemetery, and up until that moment, I hadn’t really considered the significance of visiting a gravesite. The deceased can’t see the flowers or hear the words you speak to them as you stand in front of their memorial stone. I can’t say for sure whether my father is in “a better place.” I didn’t want to lie to Bradley about any of that.

But then I thought of a line from Bradley’s favorite movie, “Coco,” and I knew what to tell him. In the movie, the main character shows his baby sister photographs of deceased relatives. He tells her, “These aren’t just old photos. They’re our family and they’re counting on us to remember them.”

I then had my answer. For Bradley and me, visiting Brad Schoon’s gravesite will be about making time to reminisce and tell Bradley about his grandfather’s life and legacy.

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