Filipino priests have fun with Facebook, Twitter
by FFE PH News Staff
A number of Filipino priests are following social-media darling Pope Francis’ example in the online sphere.
Some 50 Filipino priests took part in a Social Media 101 seminar with Vatican Radio programme director Sean-Patrick Lovett earlier this month, and Lovett said he was surprised by his students’ reactions.
He said the groundbreaking class for priests drew excitement from the Filipino clergymen, some of whom have started taking their own selfies and posting them on Facebook.
57-year-old Bishop Buenaventura Famadico of the San Pablo diocese near Manila said ‘I am a very private person. I still have a very limited appreciation about the Internet and social media. But now there is that opening, about staying in touch with others through Facebook.’
He said that during the 3-hour seminar, he was saddened to see how outdated his diocese’ webpage was. But through Facebook, he said ‘Now I have new friends, I contacted my brothers and sisters abroad. I am very encouraged to upload my thoughts and homilies to my Facebook account.’
The class had the clergymen, some of which were in their 70s, paired with younger, more tech-savvy nuns and seminarians who guided them in using the Internet, setting up Facebook and Twitter accounts and writing valuable messages.
Lovett said the pope himself encourages the Church to turn to social media to deliver the message of the Lord. Like the pope, Archbishop of Manila Cardinal Luis Tagle is also garnering followers in his Facebook account, which has more than 450,000 likes.
While many were open to the idea, some priests showed reservations, including privacy and the risk of getting addicted. One said ‘If I become addicted, can I pray while I’m on Facebook?’ Another hurdle to overcome is the struggle experienced by the majority senior clergymen over using new technology. One seminarian commented that ‘Just typing on the keyboard was a new experience for [one of the clergy].’
But Lovett said it was important for Filipino priests to know how to use social media especially since many Filipinos are connected online. He cited popular methods that priests ought to adopt like writing short but meaningful messages and using photographs more than words.
Lovett remained positive the enthusiasm of the priests will not easily flare out. ‘The bishops know that social media is important. But it is one thing to know it and another to experience it.’