Catholic Communicators in IMBISA Urged to Gain Followers for Christ on Social Media

Sr. Olga Massango making her presentation at the ongoing at the ongoing IMBISA Workshop. Credit: IMBISA Facebook page

In engaging social media, priority needs to be fostering the image of Jesus Christ, and gaining Him followers, Catholic communicators in the nine countries of the Inter-Regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA) have been told. 

In her Tuesday, August 29 presentation at the five-day communications workshop organized at Lumko Retreat and Conference Centre in Benoni, South Africa, Sr. Olga Massango said, “Christians should reflect whether their social media platforms are pursuing followers for themselves or followers for Christ.”

Sr. Massango underscored the need for Catholic communicators to foster their mission of being witnesses to the Risen and Living Lord, going beyond their respective abilities to influence.

“We are called to share our experience of faith as communicators,” the member of the Pious Society of the Daughters of St. Paul (FSP) said, adding, “This is not just by operating machines but our experience of faith.”

She went on to emphasize the need for Catholic communicators to believe in their ability to win followers for Christ on social media, saying, “Every Christian should be aware of his or her potential influence no matter how many followers he or she has.”


In her presentation titled “Speaking with the Heart: Pastoral Insights for National Communication Offices in the Digital Era”, the Mozambican-born FSP member challenged Catholic institutions to prioritize the creation of content for their respective media platforms, and their regular updating. 

“It is only content that will push the people to suggest the platform to others,” she said on August 29, the second day of the workshop organized under the theme, “Communicating the Faith with Joy”. 

In her presentation to the Catholic communicators drawn from IMBISA’s nine-member countries that include Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, São Tomé and Príncipe, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, Sr. Massango emphasized the need to remain “faithful” to the teaching of the Church. 

“Our social media presence usually focuses on spreading information and along these lines presenting ideas, teachings, thoughts, spiritual reflections and the likes on social media,” she said, adding that Catholic communicators engaging digital platforms “need to be faithful to the Christian tradition.”

The Nairobi-based FSP member went on to caution Catholic communicators from the IMBISA region against the dangers of social media. 

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She said, “Social Media's constant demand for people’s attention is similar to the process through which any temptation enters into the human heart and draws our attention away from the only one that is really meaningful and life-giving, that is the word of God.”

“Attention itself has become the most vulnerable asset and commodity,” Sr. Massango said, and added, “Along the digital highways, many people are hurt by divisions and hatred.”

She emphasized the need for Catholic communicators to pay attention to the needs of others, saying, “A good communicator, so that he may include everyone, starts his planning from the needs asking himself, how can I answer the needs of this most neglected person?”

“In that way, you can reach all because even the most neglected person can bring a lot of richness and contribution towards communion in their own way,” the FSP member said during the workshop that Bishop José Luis Gerardo Ponce de León, the Liaison Bishop for Communications at IMBISA, opened with the Holy Mass on August 29.

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