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Vision: To Foster Catholic Men's Spirituality in Chicago Southland
Unplugging from the Digital World 
Finding Renewal During Lent
By Frank J Casella
Photo: ' Speak Lord. Thy Servant is Listening' - Copyright 2010 Frank J Casella.

Digital Distractions


Lent is a time to turn our minds and hearts back to God. Many men tell me there are too many distractions. Much of our distractions they say come from balancing our digital life with real life. For one, our smart phones are designed to keep our attention.


In the season of Lent, it is important to reflect on how much time we spend on our devices and make a conscious effort to disconnect and / or refocus its use on our spiritual journey. 


With the constant availability and access to technology, it's easy to get caught up in the digital world and lose focus on what truly matters. It may be challenging at first, but by limiting our screen time and intentionally setting aside moments for prayer and contemplation, we can create a more meaningful and fulfilling Lenten experience. Let us use this time to break free from the grip of digital distractions and re-center our minds and hearts on our faith.


After a long seven years, I finally parted ways with my trusty flip phone. But instead of upgrading to the latest and greatest smartphone, I decided to go against the tide and "dumb down" my new basic device (which is still very powerful). Why, you ask? Well, let's just say it's all for the sake of creating better videos and content for CMCS (which I can't do with a flip phone). Through this process, I've discovered some nifty tricks for maximizing phone usage while minimizing distractions.


Trust me, it's possible. For starters, I disabled the pesky browser and binned the email app. Who needs constant notifications and distractions anyway? And why bother with constant data and Wi-Fi when you can download music, maps, and more for offline use? Plus, for all my Android users out there, you can even ditch Google Play altogether. It's easy to get caught up in the bells and whistles of modern technology, but let's not forget the original purpose of having a phone in our pockets - accessibility. And with these handy tips and tricks, I can stay connected while staying focused on what truly matters.


Resisting the constant allure of our phones can feel like a daunting challenge, though making a conscious decision to reduce phone usage is worth the effort in the long run, finding a healthy balance. By setting boundaries and sticking to them, you can reclaim your time and focus on fulfilling pursuits.


The fastest way to success in life, is to replace bad habits with good habits.


By removing the plethora of distracting apps from our home screens, we can turn our phones into a personal news source. Every app icon becomes a potential headline, enticing us to click and consume more content. But by removing these tempting and addictive icons, we can take control of our phone and prioritize the tasks that truly matter. We can reduce our screen time and focus on the important things in life, rather than being constantly bombarded by the latest news and social media updates.


... In today's digital age, it's easy to get caught up in mindlessly scrolling through endless social media feeds or playing addictive mobile games. However, Cal Newport, a computer science professor and author, reminds us that these seemingly harmless activities are actually making someone else richer every time we tap on our screens. Instead, he suggests a more intentional approach to using our phones. Let's take his wise words and purge any app that only serves to benefit the companies behind them. Let's only use our phones for utility, such as staying connected with loved ones or completing necessary tasks. By doing so, we can break free from the constant need for stimulation and reclaim control over our precious time and attention. 


As a busy individual, I know the importance of maximizing my time and staying focused on tasks at hand. That's why I have adopted the habit of bookmarking the blogs, videos, and news sources that I regularly follow. By doing so, I am able to easily access these sources without wasting time scrolling through endless feeds and distracted by notifications. Additionally, I have discovered the usefulness of privacy-focused content readers like on, as well as using browsers like Vivaldi and Brave. These tools not only help me stay organized and productive, but they also provide a sense of privacy and security while browsing the Internet. With these resources, I am able to efficiently consume content and stay informed without being bombarded by distracting ads and pop-ups. Overall, utilizing bookmarking and privacy-focused tools has greatly improved my productivity and minimized distractions in my online activities.


Picture a world where your phone isn't your lifeline, but instead, a mere tool to enhance your experiences. A world where the endless scrolling and constant notifications take a backseat to living in the moment. This is the idea that captivates countless individuals, as proven by the widespread practice of relinquishing social media during Lent. It's a testament to the yearning for a harmonious relationship with our devices, where we are in control rather than being controlled.



The Vatican Office for Communication released a document entitled " Toward Full Presence," which holds the key to a more fulfilling and purposeful life: 


These guidelines are not just mere suggestions, but powerful tools that can transform one's digital experience into a force for good....


The first guideline is a call to action: break free from the grips of social media and reconnect with the real world. Take moments to pray, meditate, and engage in meaningful face-to-face interactions with loved ones. 


The second guideline is a question that will make you ponder: how does your social media usage affect your relationship with God, your neighbors, and the world around you? 


And finally, the third guideline is a call to be a digital missionary, spreading the Gospel and its values through the vast reaches of social media.


In his thought-provoking encyclical Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis speaks of the dangers of relying solely on digital relationships. He warns that although these connections may give the illusion of sociability, true community cannot be built without the deliberate nurturing of friendships, consistent interaction, and the patient growth of shared values. When it comes to spreading our Catholic faith in the digital world, we must tread carefully. If we neglect the virtues of charity, prudence, and truth, our efforts may actually cause harm instead of bringing about the desired good.


The bishops in Canada recently have suggested taking a break from screens (once a week) and engaging in a technology Sabbath. This idea highlights the need for balance in our use of technology and reminds us to disconnect and focus on other aspects of our lives.


It also serves as a reminder to not get caught up in the bubble of our own views and to engage with different perspectives. In this way, we can cultivate a healthier relationship with technology and utilize it in a more intentional and mindful manner.



What's your take on this? Click here for the blog post, or reply to this email, and leave a comment!   Also forward this message your friends.

Planning for Lent? Try Amen from the Augustine Institute daily meditation emails.


Instead of trying to do everything, commit to one thing.  Simplify your life with Amen's Lenten emails. Every day, you'll get a Tears of Christ meditation by St. John Henry Newman. Every week, you'll receive an audio drama for kids and a guided lectio divina passage from the Sunday Mass readings. May Scripture and the wisdom of the saints guide you to a fruitful, faithful Lent!

Click to learn more about the Amen app
How can we pray for you?
Contact CMCS by private phone message at 641-715-3900 X 523082 or private email at 
The CMCS Mission: Catholic Men Chicago Southland (CMCS) is engaged in fostering holy and courageous men and proclaiming the importance of husbands and fathers to children and the family. CMCS is a Catholic Apostolate founded in 2004 by Most Reverend Joseph N. Perry, Deacon John Rangel, and Mr. Frank J Casella.
Click for Charity Mobile
Article: Gen Zers Are Snapping Up Flip Phones. They Might Be Onto Something.
'Modern models are a bit smarter than those from the early 2000s, but still offer a needed break from endless notifications.'  Every phone mentioned in this article is available at Charity Mobile, switch to them and support CMCS. 
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Catholic Men Chicago Southland
Aplostolate of Interim Vicar Fr. Larry Sullivan
Executive Director, Frank J Casella 

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