One year ago, the Viatorian Community launched its new web site, developed a mobile app, and all while expanding its efforts in social media, through its Facebook page and Twitter account.
Web site browsers have reached nearly 2,000 hits per week and more than 400 supporters downloaded the app in its first weeks, while Facebook draws a growing audience of “likes” and comments.
“I want to get the Viatorians out in the public arena so people can find us,” said Bart Hisgen, assistant vocations director. “Websites are a good start, but I want young people to find us when they are searching.”
It turns out the Viatorians foreshadowed even the Vatican. Just last month, Pope Francis spoke again in favor of the the Internet and social media — and its evangelical possibilities of reaching people about Christ.
“The Internet offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity,” Pope Francis said on World Communications Day, Jan. 24, “This is something truly good, a gift from God.”
One month earlier, on Dec. 12, the Holy Father met with members of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, during a plenary assembly built around the theme, Proclaiming Christ in a Digital Age.
“It is essential to be present (through the Internet) always in an evangelical way, in what, for many, especially young people, has become a sort of living environment,” Pope Francis said, “to awaken the irrepressible questions of the heart about the meaning of existence; and to show the way that leads to Him who is the answer, the Divine Mercy made flesh, the Lord Jesus.”
One look at the Vatican’s own online presence, confirms its reach, between its Facebook page and an online news portal. However, the papal Twitter account, begun by Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, has been the biggest winner. It now boasts more than 3.5 million followers.