Modern missionaries urged to embrace internet

Modern-day missionaries are being urged to embrace the internet as a crucial mission frontier for engaging with the modern world.

People aren’t flocking to churches, but they are on their devices. And that’s where the message needs to be delivered, José Manuel De Urquidi told NCR Vatican correspondent Christopher White.

Urquidi is the founder of the Juan Diego Network which supports Catholic digital ministries to connect with Latinos.

During last fall’s synod, Urquidi was one of a few voices who, over the course of the month-long summit, continually made the case that the internet is “a place of encounter” and that “it’s not a tool, but rather a culture”.

He advocated for the Church to adopt a missionary mindset towards the digital world, akin to the methodical approach of past evangelists.

Gone are the days of simply creating online content and hoping it resonates.

“We have never been afraid as a church for 20 centuries to be out there” said De Urquidi.

“You were sent on a mission, and who could know what would happen?”

For Urquidi, the church has always been aware that sending missionaries into new frontiers entails risks, including martyrdom.

“We’ve never been afraid of that” he said. “Why are we now afraid of the internet? What’s the difference?”

Urquidi’s message is direct: Like those earlier missionaries of centuries past, the digital space is “a place where we need to be. We need to learn the language and to engage”.

Digital Synod

A network of “digital missionaries” is being formed.

Individuals with online followings utilise platforms like podcasts and social media to connect with others personally.

These are at the forefront of a new mission frontier.

The Church’s digital mission gained momentum through initiatives like the “digital synod” spearheaded by Msgr Lucio Ruiz.

This effort mobilised over 2,000 “digital missionaries” to engage Catholics and non-Catholics alike. They amplified their voices in discussions about the Church’s future.

This approach acknowledges that meeting people where they are comfortable is crucial.

While the ultimate goal may be guiding individuals towards a sacramental life, the Church understands the journey can involve many steps.


National Catholic Reporter

CathNews New Zealand


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News category: World.

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