“The Net is an opportunity to promote encounter with others, but it can also increase our self-isolation, like a web that can entrap us. Young people are the ones most exposed to the illusion that the social web can completely satisfy them on a relational level. There is the dangerous phenomenon of young people becoming “social hermits” who risk alienating themselves completely from society. This dramatic situation reveals a serious rupture in the relational fabric of society, one we cannot ignore,” said Pope Francis.
The message speaks of how we are created in the image and likeness of God who is communion. Therefore, we carry forever in our hearts the longing for living in communion, for belonging to a community.
“The image of the body and the members reminds us that the use of the social web is complementary to an encounter in the flesh that comes alive through the body, heart, eyes, gaze, breath of the other.
“If the Net is used as an extension or expectation of such an encounter, then the network concept is not betrayed and remains a resource for communion. If a family uses the Net to be more connected, to then meet at table and look into each other’s eyes, then it is a resource. If a Church community coordinates its activity through the network, and then celebrates the Eucharist together, then it is a resource.
“If the Net becomes an opportunity to share stories and experiences of beauty or suffering that are physically distant from us, in order to pray together and together seek out the good to rediscover what unites us, then it is a resource,” Pope Francis said.
It is so important that we as a Christians use the power available through the internet in a way that leads to real connection and face-to-face encounters.
Head of Communications in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, John Kingsley-Jones, sees the importance of sharing information about the work the Diocese does in the Hunter-Manning region using traditional print media, the internet and phones.
“The aim of MN News Today, our magazine Aurora and our app which can be downloaded for free onto any phone, is to communicate and share information - about the good work that the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle does through its agencies in the Hunter-Manning community – with those who live and work in this community,” John said.
“This includes information about the good work done by agencies such as CatholicCare in social services and the Development and Relief Agency (DARA) to support vulnerable people in the community.
“It also covers information about the building of new schools and the extension of existing Catholic schools to meet the growing demand for education. We also share information about the good work done by St Nick’s early education centres and St Nicks OOSH to support working families. Then there is the information we share about all the activities and events of our Pastoral Ministries team which works closely with Bishop Bill Wright to provide the missionary outreach of the local church in the Diocese,” John said.
As a Church, we can be aware of the happenings in the Diocese and use that resource to come together as God calls us.
“We can, in this way, move from diagnosis to treatment: opening the way for dialogue, for encounter, for “smiles” and expressions of tenderness... This is the network we want, a network created not to entrap, but to liberate, to protect a communion of people who are free. The Church herself is a network woven together by Eucharistic communion, where unity is based not on “likes”, but on the truth, on the “Amen”, by which each one clings to the Body of Christ, and welcomes others,” Pope Francis said.
Read the entire message here:
To download the Diocesan app for free, go to: https://www.mn.catholic.org.au/mass-times-app/