.- A youth symposium on social media in the Philippines highlighted the call of the new evangelization to explore digital means of sharing the Gospel.
“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,” said Msgr. Paul Tighe, secretary of the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission on Social Communication.
Msgr. Tighe delivered the keynote address at the Philippines’ Catholic Social Media Summit, held at Colegio de San Juan de Letran in Intramuros, Manila from Nov. 23-24.
The event, organized by Youth Pinoy in collaboration with the Episcopal Commission on Youth and the Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, drew more than 400 participants from across the country.
In his address, Msgr. Tighe discussed the challenges facing the Church in the digital culture and the need to effectively communicate the Word of God to today’s social media generation.
He stressed the importance of being good citizens of the digital world, open to dialogue and witnessing a life that is consistent with evangelization. In addition, he emphasized that the language of digital and social communications are conversational and interactive.
Speaker Msgr. Pedro C. Quitorio III, media office director for the Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said that Christians who want to participate in the movement to “evangelize” the digital continent should be like Mary.
Presenting the image of Mary visiting her cousin Elizabeth, Msgr. Quitorio said online evangelizers should “carry the Word in their wombs,” just like the Blessed Mother.
“Only when you are filled with the Word will you be qualified to post about it on social media,” he said.
The closing day of the Social Media Summit also coincided with the feast of the Christ the King and the closing of the Year of Faith.
At the closing Mass, Mons. Tighe reflected on Christ’s Kingship, which is “all about service, of reaching out to others, not about looking after one’s own interests.”
He noted that the way of Jesus is “not controlling, not dominating, not having power but giving yourself and spending yourself in the service of others.”
“You are the people that make up the social media,” he stressed. “You are the people that make up the community of the internet. Use your power, your voice, your talents, your abilities to make social media a place of solidarity.”
Msgr. Tighe cautioned participants to resist the temptation to use the power of social media to promote themselves in order to become popular or well-liked.
Rather, he urged the young people to transform social media into a “place where we look out for one another, where we support one another, where we care for one another.”