Tuwang-tuwa ako nang ma-meet ko si Msgr. Paul Tighe. Siya ang social media manager ni Pope Francis sa Vatican, meaning, isa siya sa mga taga tweet ni Pope sa account na @Pontifex. Pumunta siya dito kamakailan sa Pilipinas para maging keynote speaker sa nakaraang Catholic Social Media Summit v2.0 noong November 23-24, 2013 sa Colegio de San Juan de Letran. Bilang parte ng YouthPinoy, na nag-organize ng event na ito, nagkaroon ako ng pribilehiyo na makausap siya. Siya ay isa sa mga coolest Catholics na kilala ko.
Ngayon ay ibabahagi ko sa inyo ang kanyang sinabi noong Catholic Social Media Summit version 2.0. Sana ay ma-inspire din kayo sa pag-eevangelize sa online and digital media kagaya ko.
Sharing the Word: The Church in a Digital World
Communications is at the centre of the life of the Church. As a community called together by Christ, our mission is to share the Good News of God’s love for all people with those we meet on the pilgrimage of life. The fullness of God’s love is revealed in the person of Jesus, the Word made flesh. Jesus communicated in word and deed; the Church is called to proclaim and to witness to the continuing presence of Jesus among us.
The Church has always sought to use media to communicate. Currently, we are living through a radical transformation of the media and the Church is focused on understanding the ‘newness’ of the culture of digital communications in order to be communicate effectively. If we are to share the Good News with our brothers and sisters in the ‘digital continent’, we must speak a ‘language’ they can understand and be present as authentic witnesses to our faith.
The’ language’ of digital and social communications is conversational, interactive and dialogical. If our communication is to touch people’s hearts and minds; we must be able to listen to them and engage seriously with their questions. As a Church, we are more used to preaching, to teaching and to issuing statements. These are important activities but the most effective forms of digital discourse are those that engage people individually, that seek to respond to their specific questions and that attempt to dialogue.
It is a basic truth of communications that our witness – our actions and our patterns of behavior – is often more eloquent than our words and proclamations in expressing who we are and what we believe. In the digital arena, a particularly significant way of offering such witness will be through a willingness to give oneself to others by patiently and respectfully engaging their questions and their doubts as they advance in their search for the truth and the meaning of human existence (Pope Benedict XVI, Message for World Communications Day 2013). It is therefore important to know how to dialogue and, with discernment, to use modern technologies and social networks in such a way as to reveal a presence that listens, converses and encourages. Allow yourselves, without fear, to be this presence, expressing your Christian identity as you become citizens of this environment(Pope Francis, 21 September 2013).
If we look carefully at the activities that drive social media, we see that people are seeking human friendship, searching for information and sharing their knowledge. These activities manifest the basic and persisting human needs for love, meaning and purpose. We must ask ourselves: are we up to the task of bringing Christ into this area, or better still, of bringing others to meet Christ? Can we walk alongside the pilgrim of today’s world as Jesus walked with those companions to Emmaus, warming their hearts on the way and bringing them to an encounter with the Lord? (Pope Francis, ibid).
Even as we acknowledge the challenges to effective communication, we should remember that ultimately it is not our work but the grace of God that will change hearts. It is necessary to be absolutely clear that the God in whom we believe, who loves all men and women intensely, wants to reveal himself through the means at our disposal, however poor they are, because it is he who is at work, he who transforms and saves us (Pope Francis, ibid).