13th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B - 1st July 2018
Pope Francis's @Pontifex Twitter accounts reached more than 40 million, in 9 different languages, has grown by over 9 million followers in the past 12 months. This a way for Francis to personally connect with people around the world.
Every day, through his tweets, Pope Francis makes himself available to men and women through social media, at times offering a spiritual thought, other times sharing with his followers a reflection of events of great significance for the international community.
It shows the Pope's concern and "care for relationships" even over the internet even though the Pope has admitted he is not savvy with new technologies. The Pope knows that the web is "a network not of wires but of people."
The Pope also communicates digitally via Instagram, the social image channel. His account, @Franciscus, was approaching 5 million followers since its creation March 19th, 2015. The majority of Instagram followers are from the ages of 25-34 with the United States and Brazil being the countries with most followers. With a pope that is so naturally communicative, a keen pastoral concern is to keep open all the channels that allow Pope Francis to speak to the world.
The faith content of what the Vatican communicates is important.
The church has never had a problem with its content; the challenge is how to communicate the content in the best way for it to be heard and welcomed, The art of communicating today lies precisely in rediscovering the essence of who we are and what we have to communicate to the world and, then, how to do it.
Creativity is always part of the process. You can never just cut and paste from the past and, even less, from the world. It tells us if there is someone out there listening or reading. It would be wrong if we didn't ask ourselves why so few people read a certain article or were interested in a particular subject.
Many who contact the Pope say something like, "I have done so many bad things in my life that I know I am not worthy to pray, so I beg you to pray for me." People turn to the Pope in a personal way and find in him a reference point and a welcome even though they have never met him. People also say, "I don't go to church but I love this pope." He is able to reach people, even those far from the church, because he is simply transparent. It seems his heart is readable on his face.
The whole world is able to see his spiritual life from his expression. Every little thing - his gestures, his smile - speaks.
For me this is a great lesson on where we should focus our work: on the heart, on the profundity of Christian spirituality and the spiritual life of Christians, so that it is revealed in everything we do.
Fr. Eamon Raftery C.M.