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Taiwan

Bishops discuss Asian social media

Prelates from across the region meet to compare problems, opportunities

ucanews.com reporter, Hualien

ucanews.com reporter, Hualien

Published: November 18, 2011 06:19 AM GMT

Updated: November 18, 2011 09:48 AM GMT

Bishops discuss Asian social media
The participants in the meeting

Catholic bishops from across Asia met this week in Hualien, eastern Taiwan, on how to harness social communication for their pastoral ministry. Participants of the six-day meeting of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), which finishes tomorrow, include eight bishops, eight priests and more than 12 lay and Religious ministers from 10 countries. Father Stephen Cuyos from the Philippines, the main speaker, discussed various aspects of social media and guided the participants through the process of social networking, visual story-telling, virtual interaction and other online resources for pastoral ministry. In his opening address, Monsignor Paul Russell, the papal representative in Taiwan, urged participants to keep updating their Church websites. Providing the latest and correct online information is necessary for effective Church works, he noted. Bishop Wenceslao Padilla of Ulaanbaatar said that his biggest problem of evangelization in the cyberspace is not technology but the lack of Catholic terms in Mongolian. As the Mongolian Catholic Bible is still under translation, the 800 faithful have to read the Protestant Gospel during Masses. The Mongolian Church has set up its website in the largely Buddhist country, where social media is quite commonly used, he said. Fr Robert Leong of Brunei believed that social networking in pastoral work can help solve social problems, such as poverty gap between local people and migrant workers. His parish’s Facebook page often uploads pictures of parish activities, hoping to strengthen connections between local parishioners and Filipino Catholic workers, he said. Bishop Joseph Luechai Thatwisai of Udon Thani said social networking is of limited use in pastoral work in northeastern Thailand, as some priests do not have a computer and many young people have left the poor area to work elsewhere. In Taiwan, all seven dioceses have their own websites, said Chung Jin of the information section of Taiwan’s bishops’ conference. Most dioceses also promote evangelization through their blogs and Facebook pages, she added. Next year’s meeting will be hosted by Vietnam.

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