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Sunday 18 April |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Maria Anna Blondin

Meet the Bishop Who “Tweets, Podcasts, and Talks to the Flock From His Car”

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 02/01/16

That would be Burlington’s Bishop Christopher Coyne—shown above, on the right, standing beside Brooklyn’s own Frank Caggiano (now on loan to Bridgeport).

Aleteia’s Zoe Romanowsky has a terrific interview today with Bishop Coyne, who has made social media a cornerstone of his ministry.

Snip:

A bishop’s life is busy; it’s a very full schedule. How do you find time to be present on social media, maintain a web site, and do blog posts, podcasts, and videos? Do you have a team of helpers and a budget?  I do now. But most of that is on the diocesan level. My personal stuff I tend to do myself. Most of it is done early in the morning when I first get up after my prayer. I’ll spend time looking around the internet and look at the news, and I’ll post on Facebook. Since my Twitter posts are slave to my Facebook posts, I don’t have to do double duty. I’m very strict about boundaries on the internet. So, for example, both of my Facebook pages — I have a private page and a public page — say at the top that I don’t carry business through on my FB page… so you need to contact my office for that. I don’t do apologetics [on social media] because you spend a lot of time getting into arguments with people, so I limit myself there, and I’m very careful about not spending too much on the internet. During the course of the day, I do monitor it, just to make sure that something isn’t happening, like inappropriate posts, or someone in a crisis who’s trying to reach me. But I don’t want to become consumed by this. I must say that your videos and social media presence, and the fact that you have your own web site which invites others to engage with you, makes you seem very accessible. I think most people are used to their bishops being inaccessible… in terms of ever being able to to personally connect with them, ask a question, or have a conversation. What has this way of reaching out done for the way people perceive you and respond to you? It’s really worked, especially here in Burlington since I’m so new—I’ve only been here a year. When I go out to parishes and I’m out in public, people come up to me and say, “I follow you on Facebook,” “I follow you on Twitter, “I feel like I know you,” “You’re so human.” “I love your humor.” I basically try and follow what St. Augustine said in his treatise on the teaching of  Christian doctrine — that a good teacher teaches, pleases, and persuades. The pleasing part is not that you say things that people want to hear, but that your message is attractive to people and they want to engage it. So I’ll put something funny out there, or something personal — like three days ago I had a bad cold and I mentioned it… Even if it’s the first time they’ve met me, people feel like they know me because they know about my mother and my brothers and sisters, and they know when I’m traveling, and what I’m doing.

Read it all. 

Photo: Facebook

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