Last weekend (Nov 23-24, 2013), I attended the Catholic Social Media Summit v 2.0 along with four other students: Mic-Mic Pascual, Sandy Cruz, and Lauren Ruiz and two teachers.
After coming across a poster of this summit online, I looked into it further and found that it was something interesting and totally relevant to millennials like me. Being part of the Campus Ministry in my school, I wanted to join because this was something new and exciting. “The Revolution,” as the tarp says. I tapped three more interested students and this (along with the other parts of this #CSMSv2 series on my blog) is the result of our poorly charged gadgets, willing hearts, and open minds.
The focus of this 1 and a half day summit was the use of social media to bring the new evangelization online. Through impact sessions, a keynote by the Msgr. Paul Tighe (the Vatican official in charge of the official Papal twitter account), prayer, and “The Battle Plan,” the 1000+ participants were exposed to the fact that social media works. The power of social media is strong that it can lead people to the streets (Ms. Peachy Bretana on how social media played in the Philippines’ One Million People March against the Pork Barrel), and to prayer.
Msgr. Paul Tighe discussed the history of the Church — how it was born in communication ever since the apostles used oral tradition until now, where the Church has taken on the online arena to spread the Word. “The heart of communication is not a message. It is Jesus Christ.” The Word is Jesus. “He is the message AND the medium,” Tighe explained. The Church is called to proclaim the Good News — but this call is not exclusive to its officials. It is the duty of each and every Christian to take part of the evangelization. “It would be a shame if the Church would not use the instruments of communication.”
KENOSIS. Seen in Jesus’ way of always emptying Himself, this Greek word should also be applied to how Christians utilize social media. We must open our doors — in this case, our twitter or facebook accounts — even to those who may not believe and to those who doubt.
The “new ecosystem” is real. The digital world is real but different. There are many risks to bringing the Word online — such as the digital divide and subconsciously fracturing community in an attempt to create it. However, it isn’t about the cost. It’s about fidelity to Him. The question is, “How am I going to be present in the digital world?” and more importantly, “How will I make Jesus present in the digital world?”
Three Points of Msgr. Tighe
Receptivity, Convergence, & Conversion
People are always searching for connectivity. They ask — and demand answers. They yearn for friendship.
Evangelization is not a competition. The Church must be in a network of learning together.
“Begin with the Word. End with the Word.”You are a pilgrim. However, instead of you bringing Christ to the other pilgrims, bring them to Christ.
[By the way, it’s not Monsieur Tighe. It’s Monseigneur Tighe.]
I didn’t get to ask Msgr. Tighe anything during the Q&A portion — due to the limited amount of time. However, I got the opportunity to talk to him and have my picture taken with him (#millennial) afterwards. I asked him about the papal twitter account, why it has over 10 million followers yet only follows the other papal twitter accounts. Holding on to his points about “convergence, ” it confused me that the pope’s account gets Pope Francis I’s message across to 10 million people yet he does not ‘follow’ (and consequently, hear) the messages of this 10 million.
His answer to this was that there was much debate of this issue in the Vatican but they resolved that the Pope cannot genuinely follow each and everyone. He does not have time for looking at each tweet — therefore if he follows anyone else, it would be an act of dishonesty as far as the implications of following people on twitter are concerned.
Msgr. Pedrito Quitorio then talked about the Digital Transmission of Faith. The Church saw social media in a negative light at first but we have all seen the effects of utilizing it for good causes. The challenge of the Church today is to rebuild itself. That’s why, I found it wonderful how Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio chose Francis I as his papal title. God told St. Francis, “Go, rebuild my Church for you see it is in ruins.” He thought God meant the stone building but he realized later on that it was the people he was sent to look after.
The “digital divide” is rampant as there is apparently a dichotomy between faith and life. The challenge for many Catholics today is to lessen or if possible, close the gap between what we post/tweet/share and what we actually do.
Msgr. Quitorio explained online evangelization in one of the mysteries: The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth. “Be pregnant with the Word of God and reach out to others.” In the context of social media, you cannot post the Word if you do not have Jesus in your life.