I am glad to announce for the Oblates serving within the country and overseas, that the Delegation of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate has achieved another historical mile stone in launching their own website on this auspicious occasion of the “Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady on DEC 8TH, 2018”. With immense joy I extend my hearty congratulations to all the Oblates serving within the country and overseas that in deed we a small growing number has come to a stage to introduce ourselves proudly to the rest of the Oblate world through this webpage. I also congratulate Fr. Khan Paulos OMI our Delegation superior and his councilors who willingly entrust me with this mega responsibility to construct this website www.oblates.pk. This webpage will certainly be an open door to learn about the missionary endeavors being rendered by the missionary oblates of Mary Immaculate in an Islamic Country like Pakistan.
Though the country is facing many challenges at present namely political, economical, war and terror, and religious extremism especially against the waste minorities of Hindus, Sikhs, Parses, and very especially against the Christians in Pakistan, but despite of these fatal crisis the country is still on the road to progress through various national & international supports from Saudi Arabia, US, China, and Europe Union etc. This website would be a medium of fast and modern communication between you and us that will certainly be presenting the actual picture of the Mission being taken care in Pakistan by the Oblates, before their audience on their Desktop, Hand Sets, and Laptops.
The Roman Catholic Church in Pakistan is well aware of the fact that the advancement in technology, like Digital and social media playing an increasingly important role in evangelizing the poor across the borders. That role varies across three continuous stages: SOW, REAP, DISCIPLE. At any phase, hundreds of millions of people globally are at each stage in their Christian faith — ranging from a complete lack of interest in Christianity to a mature, growing faith.
- SOW— This early stage is a phase where people aren’t actively seeking Jesus. But digital and social media can play a role in influencing the perception of Christianity and creating an environment that fosters openness and curiosity to engage with us in spreading the Good News among the poor in faith.
- REAP— This is a second stage which extends when someone reaches a place where they’re beginning to seek awareness, to a decision to follow Christ. Digital and social media provide a unique and safe environment for people to struggle and question, often in more vulnerable ways because of the perceived anonymity and safety of technology.
- DISCIPLE— After someone becomes a believer, the lifelong journey truly begins. Digital and social media can help people connect with a local church, provide resources and connections to deepen in the faith, and provide encouragement and tools to share Christ with others.
Key aspects of digital and social media
Here are some of the key roles digital and social media can play in the work of evangelization.
We should be as Christian online as we are offline, so that our friends know we’re Christians. Even on Facebook.
- Vulnerability and perceived anonymity
Something deeply psychological happens when someone seeks answers to tough questions using digital or social media. They’re often willing to be far more vulnerable and transparent than they might otherwise be in other settings (in person or on the phone, for example).
Google has changed our world fundamentally. It may have started as an easy way to find information. But when searches take on the form of existential questions — like “Who is Jesus?” — you can see that “Googling” has reached a new level of meaning. This makes findabilitycritical in today’s world. By creating good content and using search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, you can place the Good News seconds away from any search globally.
- Indirect evangelism
Particularly in the SOW stage, it’s critical to note that your content doesn’t need to be explicitly evangelistic. In fact, you could argue that a bulk of the digital and social engagement in the SOW stage should not be overtly evangelistic.
In the REAP and DISCIPLE stages, platforms provide us with the tools to reach massive numbers of people. Technologies include web pages, chat rooms, instant messaging, videos, curriculum, location and more.
- Leveraging world news / cultural moments / memes
We live in a world where the news of a minute attracts massive attention. Rather than trying to drum up our own attention and interest, we should consider leveraging existing world events and cultural moments to evangelize, particularly in the SOW and REAP stages.
Today, quality content is highly demanded by the audience, however we can assess that “The Holy Bible” gives us content on every issue related to the human condition. As wise and creative Christians, we need to be committed to creating and sharing evangelistic content for all three stages: SOW, REAP, DISCIPLE.
Social media communication tools have profoundly changed our lives, especially how we interact with one another and the world around us. Here are the top areas in which it has affected our daily lives:
- Source of information
Friends on social media are increasingly becoming people’s trusted sources of information, even more than search engines.
- Launching a business While business in the past was generally conducted with those in one’s immediate.
- Connecting with people
Social media helps find and maintain both old and potentially new friendships
- Place for authenticity
The goal used to be to make sure that we always appeared to be in complete control; but this is shifting, in part, because of social media. The paradigm is now no longer to try to appear perfect but to be more transparent with your thoughts and feelings, to reveal your humanness.
- Power to influence
Even if we have few followers on Twitter or friends on Facebook or subscribers to our blog, the average person’s influence increases as communication channels become more open and fluid. The Internet has brought media to a global audience. The Web has opened a tremendous opportunity to reach a great number of participants directly with targeted messages.
Let me share some of the benefits of social networking:
- Tolerance: Networks are good for handling diversity. Behind our screen we can be any color, any nationality, without the fear of not being accepted.
- Friendship: Networks are about connections people making with one another. Usually we get connected to each other very easily and there are no limitations or lack of trust.
- Change: Networks are so versatile that everything can still operate effectively whether on a large scale or for smaller, close-knit groups.
- Communal: Groups are created so that people join and feel welcome in a community.
- Equal, small versus big: For example Amazon.com vs. Waterstones. The latter is probably the biggest and most well-known bookstore in the United Kingdom and Europe at large. At one stage, nobody thought anything could surpass its size and reputation; especially not Amazon.com, which started offline on a much smaller scale. Now Amazon has become a multinational sensation. With social networking, both types of businesses can be put on the same footing.
- Fair: In previous years, the television producers and radio executives decided what featured in the media. However, there has now been a redistribution of power; not only does the average person sitting at home get to have a say in what they experience in the media, but they also have the chance to actually participate.
- Open: Those who are ready for experimentation are able to do so freely. They can reach other users open to new things around the globe. This is how simple “home videos” end up having a few million viewers on sites such as YouTube.
- Authentic: Everyone has his or her own identity; no two “profiles” or blogs are ever exactly the same. People can express their individuality through personal touches, without the restrictions of conformity.
- Global: There are no borders or obstacles in connecting.
- Participator: Using their own online ID, everyone can participate in any discussion.
- Seekers: The new rule of the information age: if you don’t, someone else will.
I believe that it would be unjust for us the Church and its members that if we do not make a use of this valuable modern source which is known as Mass Media. Through the medium of social media one can spread the Gospel through videos from conversions to apologetics. Likewise, the Church can use social media to spread powerful and possibly life-changing articles which open the eyes of people to the truth or spark an interest to learn more.
The social media is the fastest tool of communication in human history. It has changed the way people interact so much: tweeting, blogging, texting, live chatting, posting on Facebook and other social networks, sharing their views and opinions with the world. They share their minds instantly.
Social media gives us the opportunity to make new connections online. The world lies at your fingertips. You can reach out to a large number of users. Statistics show that the total number of Facebook users worldwide is 1.2 billion and that 98 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds use social media. Therefore the key responsibility lies on our shoulders the leaders Bishops, Priests, Brothers, and Nuns to re-evangelize the poor in faith with some useful life changing material be posted on our Facebook, twitter and WebPages etc.
I humbly take this opportunity to thank and appreciate Fr. Sajjad Manzoor OMI and all our students (Philosophate community) instrumental to accompany me in this venture. I pay homage to their tireless efforts at 24/7 to complete this mega project within a set time, which consumed lots of our energy, time, and attention to make this webpage as an attractive, beautiful and meaningful for all our users.
Finally I also thank and appreciate all the Oblates near, far and flung for their generous help and support to make this project a successful one, certainly without your help in time with AV aids (audio visual) I wouldn’t have completed this website.
Thanking you all in Christ Jesus & Mary Immaculate..!
Rev. Fr. Cecil Paul
Director Oblate Media Center Pakistan