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  • Maciej Makula

DIGITAL CONTINENT - SHAPING TOMORROW




The term 'digital continent' refers to the digital area that includes the Internet, social media, online platforms and all the communication and information technologies that are an integral part of life in contemporary society. Expanding on this expression, it can be seen that the digital continent is not a physical geographical area, but rather a metaphor referring to the global online community, saturated with technology, but at the same time made up of real men and women (Francis, 2013). This digital community was home to 5.4 billion people in January 2024, representing over 66% of the world's population of over 8 billion (wearesocial.com). More than 5 billion users engage in social media in 2024, up from about 1.7 billion in January 2013.


Setting sail in the digital sea and launching into the depths of the digital continent - this challenge should be taken up with the same determination as the missionary imperative 2000 years ago (Benedict XVI, 2010). At the beginning of the 21st century, this task is mainly performed by young people, creating and publishing content on the Internet almost spontaneously. Therefore, the special task of evangelising the digital continent belongs to them (Benedict XVI, 2009). The term ‘digital missionary continent' refers to the idea of using digital media to spread the Gospel message and promote Christian values in the online and social media space. The development of this concept takes into account several fundamental aspects: evangelisation through social media; building virtual communities; content creation; the use of different platforms and channels to communicate; focusing on different target groups.


The new missionary continent is waiting for missionaries, just as it was hundreds of years ago when new continents were discovered. Digital missionary continent with advanced technologies opens up opportunities for evangelisation in the digital environment (Verso una Chiesa sinodale in uscita verso le periferie, Riflessioni e proposte pastorali dalla Prima Assemblea Ecclesiale dell’America Latina e dei Caraibi 2022; 269, 271, 290). It is precisely this what the church has begun to call digital missionaries, specialists in communicating the faith in the digital environment, professionally trained to evangelize in the digital continent. 'We need to provide opportunities for recognising, forming, and accompanying those already working as digital missionaries, while also facilitating networking amongst them' (Synod 2023, Mission in the Digital Environment, 17). The professional preparation of digital missionaries is becoming an increasingly pressing challenge for the Church.


We invite you to attend the communication conference from 1-7 August 2024 in Rome.

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