St Bernadette’s Parish, Castle Hill has a new Facebook page: “St Bernadette’s Parish Castle Hill” with the custom URL facebook.com/castlehillparish. Fr Fernando Montano, Parish Priest, explained the exciting new move in the Epiphany edition of the Massabielle, the parish’s weekly newsletter.
“I am a priest who likes the use of technology as a means of spreading the word of God,” Fr Fernando wrote.
“I am a strong believer that we are in times when we need to embrace new tools of evangelization if we want to reach our audience with the message of Jesus.”
The page already has over 100 likes, two image galleries of special events in the parish and often posts links to daily reflections.
The new Facebook page is connecting members of the parish using the popular medium and shares some of the parish’s infectious joy.
Images from the parish’s Christmas Cocktail Party on the Facebook page show the fellowship and camaraderie of the parish.
Fr Fernando has been pointing out the Latin American roots of the New Evangelisation, while sharing his motivation for the new Facebook page, originally from Mexico.
“Back in 1983, St John Paul II used the term “New Evangelization” when he was talking to the Latin American Bishops,” he wrote.
“At that time he invited bishops to commit themselves to this task of new evangelization that had to be ‘new in its ardor, new in its methods, and new in its expressions’.”
Sharing the salvation of Jesus Christ through His Church is urgent and contemporary society clearly yearns for His mercy.
“We need to see cyberspace as a new Areopagus where people exchange ideas and that is in need of a Christian presence just as Paul went to present the faith in Athens (Acts 17:22-23),” Fr Fernando wrote.
St Bernadette’s Parish, Castle Hill joins over 20 other parishes in the Diocese of Parramatta that have started their own Facebook pages. The Facebook pages receive enthusiastic responses from parishioners.
Around 94% of Australians who use social media have a Facebook account and use it an average of 12.5 hours each week, according to recent reports.
Many local organisations now see the value and urgency of using Facebook, also known as ‘the social network’, which has been available for free to the general public since 2006 and is now the 6th largest listed company in America.
While spending hours on social media can be a temptation, Fr Fernando underlined the supremacy of spending time in the Church in person.
“Always remember that nothing can replace human interaction and it is always good to see you in Church.”
This is a message two of the parish youth group leaders could heartily agree with. James Richards and Zara Boudib not only found a home in St Bernadette’s Parish; they found a spouse in each other, having married at St Bernadette’s the weekend of Epiphany.