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Evangelise online in ‘Holy Year of Social Media,’ Bishop Keenan says

By Amanda Connelly

BISHOP John Keenan of Paisley has urged the Church to embrace social media, describing the current Jubilee year as the ‘Holy Year of Social Media’ in an interview with Vatican Radio.

Bishop Keenan discussed the ongoing and unwavering success of the Year of Mercy over the past few months, and described the reach and impact of social media during the Jubilee and the positive outcomes it has brought.

“I think this has been the Holy Year of Social Media,” he said. “It is the first Holy Year in the culture of social media and I think it has had one of the biggest effects.”

“My view is that when the internet came along, the Church was quite slow to get on to the idea of the internet and websites, but I think we’ve been much better at getting up to speed with social media.

“This is a new method that very much has been able to keep the pulse of the Year of Mercy going.

“I think also that through this we’ve learned that it can be used to great effect generally for the new evangelisation the Church is asking for.”

Bishop Keenan said he had noticed the positive influences of social media in his own diocese, with Catholics using Facebook to publicise events, and using Twitter to pass on Pope Francis’ words of mercy, all of which were being retweeted and shared.

He also noted that young people from the diocese who went on pilgrimages to both Lourdes and Krakow this year had set up WhatsApp groups.

These groups allowed members to keep in touch with each other, encourage one another to attend diocesan events and to socialise together in a Catholic context.

The Bishop also spoke of how the Church might make better use of social media and the internet in order to spread God’s message across the world.

He argued that ‘without any doubt’ the Church should invest in social media resources as they represented ‘a providential tool’ and were a ‘means of new evangelisation.’


—This story ran in full in the October 28 edition print of the SCO, available in parishes.

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