Thursday, September 30, 2010

Facebook evangelism: Vatican uses social media to reach a modern congregation

Pope2You online TV, a Vatican Facebook app, YouTube channel and an iPhone app signal the bold entrance of the Vatican into the world of social media. 

Monsignor Paul Tighe, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications will be in Darwin this month to talk to public relations professionals from around Australia about the opportunities the World Wide Web and social media has presented to the Catholic Church.  

“We recognise that a church that does not communicate ceases to be a church,” said Monsignor Tighe. 

“Many young people today are not turning to traditional media like newspapers and magazines any more for information and entertainment.” 

“They are looking to a different media culture and this is our effort to ensure that the Church is present in that communications culture.” 

At you can watch videos of the Pope’s latest homilies and speeches or watch a live feed of activity in St Peter’s Square via satellite.  

The Pope’s Facebook application gives Catholics the chance to ‘meet the Pope on Facebook’ and send virtual cards with messages from the Pope to their friends.  

“New technologies mean that priests have the possibility to reach people that maybe traditionally they wouldn’t have been able to reach,” said Monsignor Tighe, live to camera on another Catholic video sharing website, shares videos from Catholics around the world, from the Pope himself to US President Barrack Obama. The site even offers an online dating service for Catholics.  

“The priest is, at the heart of his vocation, a communicator,” said Monsignor Tighe. 

 "Communication of the Gospel must be at heart of the ministry of a priest and I am pleased to work in the Council that has a mandate to harness the potential of the media - new and old - as a means of evangelisation." 

Monsignor Tighe will be speaking at the 2010 Public Relations Institute of Australia National Conference at the Darwin Convention Centre along with representatives from Virgin Galactic, James Hardie and BBC Australia.  

PRIA National President Robina Xavier said the Vatican presentation fits perfectly with this years’ conference theme, PR in a Different Space.  

“All of the conference keynotes, workshops and panel discussions will inspire and encourage participants to do what they do best in a different space or from a new perspective,” Ms Xavier said.  

The conference includes eight keynote addresses and forty speakers over nine streams in a line-up that promises to get public relations and communication professionals ‘all hot under the collar’, according to Ms Xavier.  

“There’ll be case studies including that from Jessica Watson’s Manager Andrew Fraser on her round the world voyage and the BBC’s Louise Alley on bringing Top Gear to Australia. 

The 2010 Conference program includes a Gala Dinner and the 2010 Golden Target Awards Ceremony that celebrates PR campaign best practice at a national level. 

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Media are welcome to attend all events at the conference at the Darwin Convention Centre from 25 to 26 October 2010.  

For more information on the PRIA Conference visit  

To arrange an interview, or to attend one of the keynote addresses, please contact:  
Janelle Rees at Creative Territory on 8941 9169 or at