Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle and pilgrims from the Philippines at the 2023 World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal / Courtesy of CBCP News

Lisbon, Portugal, Aug 4, 2023 / 14:00 pm (CNA).

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle has called on young people to be social media influencers with a purpose: to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Speaking to young Filipino pilgrims attending the World Youth Day in Lisbon, he expressed hope they would find a way to understand and learn from Jesus how to influence others.

“Please, young people of the Philippines, spread the influence of Jesus, the influence of truth, justice, caring for the earth, and caring for fellow human beings in the world called social media,” Tagle said.

The pro-prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Evangelization said there are many ways of influencing others, but as Christians they must “be inspired by the Gospel.”

“If the one influencing you is Jesus and the Gospel, go right ahead, influence other people through this social media, which is a world in itself,” Tagle said.

The cardinal made the statement at the “One Filipino Reunion” in Lisbon, which was highlighted with a Mass led by Bishop Rex Andrew Alarcon of CBCP Episcopal Commission on Youth at St. Mary Magdalene Church.

Along with Alarcon were Bishop Bartolome Santos of Iba and Bishop Severo Caermare of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Indigenous Peoples.

More than a thousand Filipino pilgrims are currently in the Portuguese capital for the weeklong gathering of young people from across the world, which formally kicked off on Aug. 1.

About 500,000 young people from all over the world filled Eduardo VII Park on Thursday to welcome Pope Francis, who led the welcoming ceremony of WYD.

According to Tagle, WYD is testimony that “our faith in Jesus makes us really one” in a world “marked by so much divisiveness, prejudice, and discrimination.”

“We could be the seed of unity, communion, respect for human beings, respect for diversity, because we believe in Jesus Christ,” he said.

Earlier in the day, the cardinal also addressed a gathering of young Catholic influencers at the Portuguese Catholic University.

In the occasion that preceded the pope’s meeting with students, he invited the participants to lead their bishops, priests, and the religious “into this territory as fertile ground for ministry and mission.”

“Every influencer who wants to be an evangelizer must be influenced by Jesus and his Gospel. Only Jesus will make us true influencers. The world already has many false influencers for false purposes,” he said as quoted by Vatican News.

This article was first published by CBCP News and republished at CNA with permission.

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