Many of Pope's Twitter followers are Filipinos working abroad

Francis with Cardinal Tagle

A visiting Vatican official in the Philippines said a large part of the 10 million Twitter followers of Pope Francis are Filipinos working abroad, especially in the Middle East, reports Ucanews.

'When the pope went on Twitter … we were surprised to see that in the Middle Eastern countries and Gulf states, there was a huge following. Then we realised that those were the Filipinos,' Monsignor Paul Tighe, secretary of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Social Communications, told reporters in Manila on Thursday.

He said Twitter has been an important tool for Filipino workers to exercise their faith despite being in places where religious freedom is limited. 

'These Filipinos are in a situation that is not easy for Catholics, but Twitter is something that allowed them some connection to the Church,' said Msg. Tighe, who is part of the team that manages the Pope Francis Twitter account @Pontifex.

'What I want to tell Filipinos around the world is: make sure you see in social media the potential to build good relationships among yourselves, to build up your faith and sense of belongingness to the church and closeness to Christ,' he said.

Msgr Tighe said the pope usually composes his tweets in Spanish or Italian and a team translates the messages to seven other languages. The church official also discussed the Vatican's acquisition of the .catholic domain from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

FULL STORY Pope's 10 million Twitter followers derive from unlikely places

RELATED STORY Rome's Filipino community meets the pope (Ucanews)

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