“Pope Francis has had a great impact on the church and the world these past few years. Perhaps his greatest influence is not from his passionate sermons and theological writings, but from the less-than-140 character tweets he sends out to over 21 million followers around the globe.” (From a review of the Tweetable Pope: A Spiritual Revolution in 140 characters by Michael J. O’Loughlin) He isn’t the first Pope to use Twitter but he is the first to tap some of its great potential to reach millions in a few seconds with his message of peace, love, tolerance, and exhortations to be the best people we can be according to God’s plan.
From the Pope to those of us working in Vocation Ministry, Social Media is fast becoming the vehicle of choice to connect with discerners, catechists, clergy and religious as we daily strive to spread the message that Religious Life is a life of joy, service, community and is a vibrant life choice for men and women in this Digital Age. Sparked by this “new way of doing business,” the National Religious Vocation Conference with the assistance of the Hilton Foundation, launched this new program. I was honored to serve on the design team for this first Vocation Ambassadors program.
This program brought together teams from 13 congregations of men & women religious for a week at Holy Cross College, in Notre Dame, IN. Our own team consisted of Lisset Mendoza, Yahaira Perez-Caraballo and Sr. Pat Dual. The objective was to teach teams how to create a strategic project plan for vocation promotion using the latest social media platforms coupled with traditional and emerging communication tools. During the week, presentations were given on everything from the Culture of Religious Life (especially for the young adults who may not have much knowledge of the inner workings and daily culture of a religious institute) to how to create short videos using apps for mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. Gone are the days of static videos made in a studio. We need to get out to where the people are to tell the good news of religious life today. In the future, we will be sharing with you more about this program and the fruits of our team’s work. In the meantime, I have a few questions to ask you. If you don’t know the answers, talk to your friends, associates, sisters, staff members and your families to help explain it to you. Then, discuss how you think we as a congregation, and as a Church, can spread the good news of religious life using social media?
- What is Instagram and why is it one of the most popular programs with college age and young adults?
- What is a hashtag? We used #sharethesacred to tweet during the Vocation Ambassadors program. Search twitter and find our posts.
- On Facebook? If so, have you liked our congregational page? If not, please like our page. Let’s see how many new likes we can get this week.
- Please do the same for our accounts at:
- Send us your thoughts and ideas about how we can best use these tools.
Who knows, the next tweet, post or blog might be the very thing someone needs to see or read today.