“Ask A Monk” Online!

Brother Sebastian at Ask A MonkAt 6 PM Eastern Time today, February 20, 2012, “Ask A Monk” goes live for the first time.  From his monastery Brother Sebastian will be using chat software to provide spiritual advice to anyone who visits the Catholic Exchange homepage and clicks on the “Ask A Monk” chat button.

“Brother Sebastian” is the collective name we have given to a small group of cloistered Benedictines who will be staffing this service.  They have asked that their monastery and the individuals involved remain anonymous in order to follow their Rule’s counsel of humility.  They are enthusiastic about extending spiritual counsel to the laity in this new way.  We can hardly thank them enough.   Pray that God will bless their community in a new way for their service.

The software facilitating “Ask A Monk” comes from Netop.  They are a major provider of customer service software that enables users to chat with representatives of pharmacies, financial institutions, car dealerships, etc.  Their people, especially James Boughal and Sam Heiney, were delighted that their product would be put to such an innovative use, and bent over backwards to help us.  Catholic Exchange owes them tremendous thanks as well.

Putting “Ask A Monk” into operation is something Catholic Exchange has wanted to do for the last couple of years.  It’s part of turning an online publication into a multifaceted tool of evangelization.  Beyond providing information, the internet can connect people and enable them to act in concert.  It can be used for the Kingdom of God, not only virtually but in the real world.  We have so many opportunities in this way—“Ask A Monk” is a sign of things to come.

As so many Catholic lay people have through the ages, I have benefited greatly from the retreats I have spent in monasteries, the spiritual counsel I have received there, and what I have learned from monastic writers.  I have longed to open up these riches to busy people, who often live far away from the spiritual powerhouses that are monasteries.  To see “Ask A Monk” come on line is such a happy thing, and I thank God for the privilege of being part of it.

“Ask A Monk” works in two ways—via live chat and email.  When Brother Sebastian is not online, you can ALWAYS send him an email.  He will answer your emails just as soon as possible.  You just go to the same place on the Catholic Exchange homepage, click on the “Ask A Monk” button, and fill out the form with your email message.

Monday through Friday, you can chat live with Brother Sebastian from 6:00 – 6:30 PM Easter Time.  On the weekends, the hours will be extended.  Live chat will be available on Saturday and Sunday from 3:00 – 5:00 PM Eastern Time.

As I am posting this, we are a couple hours away from the official live opening.  Wherever you are, whatever spiritual or other problems you may facing, you can always communicate with a monk.  So, “Ask A Monk.”

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  • Thevalueofsparrows

    How?

  • Cursillista

    Our Archbishop (and the Western Church at large to my knowledge) has instructed us not to hold hands during the, “Our Father”.  It confuses the order of Mass among other problems.  I know a priest that tells us to, “Let us join hearts and hands as we dare to say, “Our Father…”  On light side it’s poor catechesis, on the heavy side, I see it as forcing parishioners to sin.  Am I making too much of this?  I just see it as a real problem when our Archbishop sent out a letter to all parishises telling this activity to cease and desist, this priest has had this brought to his attention by a parishioner, but continues with the practice.  Thanks for any advice you can give.

  • catholicexchange

    I’m afraid I’m not an authority on hand-holding, of the Church variety.  I always hold hand during the Our Father with my family.  I like it.  On the other hand, in our parish we don’t hold hands with folks we don’t know–I like that too, as when everyone feels compelled to clasp hands it feels forced.  I wonder if this isn’t an area where people should be allowed some freedom.

  • Jimsharbaugh

    Dear Monks –

    Thanks for providing this service.  I pray it goes well for you and those you will serve.  Thanks to you as well Harold.

    God Bless !!!

    – Jim Sharbaugh
       Bowie, MD

  • Mwerk1062

    I am so excited about this!  Thank you!

  • Eric Little

    Harold – This is a great idea that I hope will be received very well and spread rapidly throughout the laity.  “Ask a Monk” could connect people with real problems and issues and help provide needed assistance in our daily lives.  Super idea!

  • Ruzoaga

    hi ,   Brother Sebastine i need  prayers from you .please how do i go about it .heres my email

  • http://www.facebook.com/frbenedict Benedict Gundersen

    PAX ATQUE BENEDICITE!

  • Kathy

    I would like to email “Ask a Monk”.  However, I have a different email program and cannot connect.  Is there a way I can find out what the email address is since clicking on the button tells me I don’t have the correct email program?

  • Pablo

    i wish i new how to email The buddhist monk that has a you tube line of videos entitled ASk a Monk. i seem to have problems from where i am to connect to him via you tube page. is there a way some one can help me to get ahold of him? thank you

  • Dolores

    I cannot find the ask a monk button I have been looking for it for an hour…. Where is it?

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