MANILA, Sept. 25, 2013—No less than the manager of the Holy Father’s Twitter account @Pontifex is flying to Manila to echo Vatican’s call to bring Christ in the digital world.
Msgr. Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, will give the keynote to the highly anticipated 2nd Catholic Social Media Summit, which will take place at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran in Manila on November 23 to 24 —two months from now.
Touted as the Pope’s social media guru by Business Week, Tighe was behind the creation of @Pontifex during the pontificate of Benedict, who posted his first post in the microblogging site last December 12. The Twitter account became temporarily inactive after Benedict resigned in February 28, and while the Holy See was vacant.
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina resumed using the Papal Twitter account and posted his first tweet as Pope Francis last March 17, four days after he was elected as the 266th successor of Peter. Francis’ tweets included hashtags unlike Benedict’s.
The Papal tweets are translated in nine languages, including Latin. His English Twitter account has at least 3 million followers as of this posting, Spanish with 3.8 million, and Italian with 1.1 million, to name a few.
Tighe told Business Week that the decision to create a Papal Twitter account is the Vatican’s way to encourage Church leaders and the lay faithful to be present on social media networks.
“A number of figures, from cardinals and bishops to individual believers, are quite present in Twitter. In a sense, the Pope’s presence is, ex post facto, an endorsement or encouragement of them. We have a lot of people who are saying, ‘If the Pope is going in there, maybe it’s time for me,’” Tighe said in an interview before Pope Benedict posted his first tweet.
Tighe was also instrumental in the annual plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications last September 19 to 21, where Pope Francis was quoted as saying that the Church must work “with discernment, to use modern technologies and social networks in such a way as to reveal a presence that listens, converses and encourages.”
Registration to the Catholic Social Media Summit is on-going online. Registration fee is pegged at P1,200 per participant but the organizers are running an early bird promo of P1,200 per head. Visit http://catholicsocialmediasummit.com to register.
Organized by YouthPinoy, the Catholic Social Media Summit aims to promote online evangelization, using the internet and social media as pulpit to proclaim the Gospel. YouthPinoy was created under the auspices of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ Media Office and Episcopal Commission on Youth. (YouthPinoy)