USA-Africa, Catholic Edition!

From Brandon Vogt, the inventor of Catholic social media, comes this awesome endeavor:

In Cameroon, Africa, books are rare–especially the good ones. My friend Linus is studying in one of the seminaries, and he says there the situation is even worse. The seminaries are bursting at the seams with young men yet they lack solid Catholic materials. (Most of the seminaries do have computers, yet the internet is spotty at best.)

But what if we could change that? What if we could get provide good Catholic books for every seminarian?

I think we can. Through the power of the Catholic blogosphere, I’m convinced we can crowd-source a solution.

The plan is to send 2,000 CDs to all the seminarians in Cameroon, each loaded with Catholic eBooks including:

  • The Holy Bible
  • The Catholic Encyclopedia
  • The complete writings of the Church fathers
  • St. Thomas’ entire Summa
  • Classic books by authors like G.K. Chesterton, St. Therese of Lisieux, and Cardinal John Henry Newman
  • Modern titles on preaching, the priesthood, and new media by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop Jose Gomez, and several by Pope Benedict XVI

Each CD will cost $2 to produce and ship to Africa and to raise the money we’re running a month-long campaign at Indiegogo.com (think Kickstarter, but open to religious groups.) The purpose is not to have one single charity fund the project but to give everyone a chance to play a part in this. For just $2, anyone can donate one CD and join the movement.

Several people have combined their resources to make this happen including Our Sunday Visitor, New Advent, Aquinas and More, Word on Fire, Lighthouse Catholic Media, and Libreria Editrice Vatican. These groups have also provided some great giveaway perks for donors:

  • $2 donation – Digital photo of a Cameroon seminarian receiving his CD
  • $15 donation – CD w/ talk by Dr. Scott Hahn
  • $25 donation – “Best of Fr. Barron” CD including 10 talks
  • $50 donation – Church and New Media book (Brandon Vogt)
  • $75 donation – Catholicism book (Fr. Robert Barron)
  • $200 donation – Complete set of Catholicism DVD series

This Africa eBook project is an experiment in new media solidarity. Its goal is to unite the energy of the online Catholic world and channel it into a global work of mercy. With new media we can do that. We can share new books and help form priests halfway across the world.

Devin here again.

As Bono says in live versions of Streets, “Also…an African Dream…Africa…Africa… [cue Edge guitar lead-in]”. It’s USA-Africa all over again, but Catholicized!

I love this idea and am so impressed with Brandon’s perseverance in finding a way to make it work. Me, I have trouble enough trying to figure out how to download one of these books onto my own Kindle, let alone equipping thousands of African seminarians with the entire Catholic heritage library of books! Way to dream big, Brandon. I’ll be donating to this.

Quit reading this blather and start supporting the project! Also on facebook here.

8 thoughts on “USA-Africa, Catholic Edition!”

  1. This sounds great, it IS great, but do those seminarians have the equipment to turn the CD’s into words they can read? Or am I just too impossibly old-fashioned?

    1. Ro,

      Yes apparently they have computers, but just spotty internet that would make downloading all these books (even if they were made available for free) impossible to do. So they can totally load the CDs and read from there.

      Devin

      1. I visited Cameroon once (my brother was doing Peace Corps service there) and I can confirm that that was indeed the situation. There were a good number of computer/internet cafes (at least in the cities which is I assume where you find the seminaries) but the internet connection was incredibly slow and unreliable. Power is also unreliable but not much you can do about that unless you want to send actual printed copies of the books. Maybe one or two copies to each seminary’s library would be a good idea, but obviously not one of each book for each person.

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