Social media, top theologians’ books will help draw back lapsed Catholics – bishop
CEBU CITY — Use social media to evangelize.
This was the challenge posed by Bishop Robert Barron of Los Angeles, United States, in response to the growing number of Catholics who either stopped going to Mass or converted to other religions.
“What extraordinary tool you are given with the new media. If we don’t use that, I think we are missing an extraordinary technology,” he said in a press conference during the 3rd day of the 51st International Eucharistic Congress.
Barron is the founder of the Word on Fire Catholic Ministries, a global media ministry which aims to draw people into or back to the Catholic Faith.
In introducing Jesus Christ to the world, he said one must “prepare with all seriousness.”
“If you put something on YouTube or Facebook, that’s 24/7 all over the world. (But) have something substantial. You have to read, read, and read the books of (Saints) Augustine, Aquinas, John Henry Newman, and John Paul II,” he said.
After he became a priest, Barron said he felt the need to bring God’s message to another level by using modern technology.
“I just felt a call within the call. I was called to be a priest but within that call is the call to evangelize,” he said.
In the Western part of the world, Barron said 70 percent of Catholics have been staying away from Mass.
If St. Paul were alive today, he said the apostle to the Gentiles or those who do not believe in Christ would also use social media to propagate the teachings of the Lord.
“It will be silly not to take advantage of this extraordinary gift we’ve been given,” he said.
Baron said Filipinos have done something special in catechizing several people in the world.
He said the Philippines reminded him of Ireland, which years ago, had a vibrant Catholic faith.
“Ireland sent missionaries to many countries. I think the Philippines is playing that that role now. In the US, the Filipino community is keeping our parishes going,” he said.
On Tuesday morning, Barron shared his reflections about the “Eucharist: celebration of the Paschal Msystery” to about 15,000 delegates from 72 countries gathered at the IEC Pavilion in Cebu City.
He stressed the significance of the Holy Eucharist, the source and summit of the Catholic faith.
“Our Christian life flow from the Eucharist and returns to the Eucharist,” he said.
Barron emphasized the need to stop secularism or being dependent on things instead of God.
“Amid all the money and power the world can give you, there’s still restlessness in your heart. You can’t be satisfied by this finite things,” he said.
“You can look at the statistics of drugs, violence, and breakdown of families. Where’s that coming from? Spiritual alienation,” he said.
For every single person who joins the Catholic Church in the US, six people leave, according to Barron.
“We’ve got to reclaim the greatest story ever told. I don’t know of any story more interesting than that. That’s the challenge of our time,” he said alluding to the story of redemption through Jesus. SFM
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