Austin, March, 10th, 2017 (Helen Osman). What’s possible when faith and technology converge? The inclusion of “Compassionate Disruption,” a Vatican-led SXSW Interactive panel featuring Bishop Paul Tighe, adjunct secretary to the Pontifical Council of Culture, signals not only a historic first for both South By Southwest ( and the Catholic Church, but will stand as one of the festival’s highest profile events exploring the intersection of religion, innovation and new media.

“Compassionate Disruption: The Vatican and Innovation” will be held on Sunday, March 12 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Austin Zilker Ballroom 2 during the first week of the 10-day long digital, music and film festival. Bishop Paul Tighe will join Christoph Krachten, Founder of VideoDays, Europe’s largest YouTube convention, and Dr. Michael Hertl of Catholic TV Germany as panelists, with the exploration of the church's approach to social media and the "digital colony" moderated by Helen Osman, incoming President of SIGNIS North America and former chief communications officer of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Prior to the panel, an official SXSW Faith & Tech Meetup will be held Sunday morning at the Hyatt Regency Austin Foyer at 11 a.m. The meetup will offer those working at the intersection of ministry and innovation, or who are interested in building deeper connections among users, teams, and audiences, with a much-needed opportunity for reflection and collaboration. All participants of the Compassionate Disruption panel will be attending the Faith & Tech Meetup.

SXSW Interactive Director Hugh Forrest has billed the panel as one of festival’s top 10 must-attend events, stating “The convergence of faith and technology is an exciting global phenomenon that has the potential to foster understanding and influence across continents and platforms. The Faith & Technology Meetup and Compassionate Disruption panel represent two huge opportunities for anyone committed to creating and driving meaningful innovation.”

Panel program director and moderator Helen Osman said of the team and festival’s collaborative effort: “Pope Francis has stated that communication, wherever and however it takes place, opens horizons and is a gift of God. The Vatican’s involvement with SXSW is a demonstration of the Church’s solidarity with those that recognize the great responsibility that comes with this power. We hope our Sunday morning meetup and panel offer festival-goers the chance to participate in a conversation that reaches across continents and all faith and platform communities.”

Click here for a full description of the Compassionate Disruption panel or to RSVP.

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