Tweeting with God in Tasmania
By Josh Low
Helping young people grow in understanding of the Catholic faith and tradition while nurturing a deeper relationship with God is at the heart of Fr Michel Remery’s ‘Tweeting with God’ ministry.
Hailing from the Netherlands, Fr Remery has been a priest for 18 years and served in various countries and roles, including Vice Secretary General of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences, as the National Youth Chaplain of Luxembourg and Secretary of both the Commission for Social Communications and the Commission for Catechesis, Schools, and Universities.
Invited by Catholic Education Tasmania, Fr Remery spent one week last month speaking to Catholic school students and staff across the state, both in person and through video conferences.
Speaking about his visit and his interactions with the young people in the schools, Fr Remery said what has stood out to him is the focus on the importance of evangelisation.
“The young people here are asking the same questions they’re asking in Holland, in Vietnam or in Africa or in any other continent.
“They’re asking the same questions because these are the fundamental questions, not only of young people, but of humanity – Questions about God, but also about how that affects my own life.
“I must say I found a lot of people who are generally searching for answers; searching for the truth and to do right, and I’ve only met marvellous people here,” he said.
Fr Remery added that his ‘Tweeting with God’ ministry has come a long way from when it first began.
Originally beginning as a book, ‘Tweeting with God’ later developed into a smartphone app, with ‘Online with the Saints’ and other initiatives stemming from that initial idea.
“Most of my time now is spent on the Ministry of Tweeting with GOD, Online with Saints, How to Grow in Faith – these different tools that we developed step by step in dialogue with young people.
“After my priestly ordination, I was appointed to a parish in the Netherlands, where after Mass many young people would come up to me and ask questions about the faith and Church teaching,” he explained.
Unable to address the sheer volume of questions due to time constraints and having to celebrate Mass at another church, he encouraged the young people to write their questions down for him to answer later.
“They did, and that’s the beginning of the entire ministry, because they wrote about a thousand questions down.
“We decided based on their questions, to have a session every week to speak about one single question.
“It could be about the Big Bang and the story of creation. Is the Church lying or is the science lying? Who’s right? Or a question about prayer or a question about morals.
“It’s important that we have the tools that help people grow in their understanding of what the message of faith is and how it can help them.
“What we ultimately discovered together was that there are so many logical arguments in favour of what our faith teaches us.
“I started to write down the summaries I gave at the end of every session based on their arguments and the arguments of the teaching of the Church, and that’s the origin of the book, Tweeting with God,” he said.
Tweeting with God has since been translated into some 30 languages and spread worldwide.
“Everything we have developed was done with young people of today in a secularised world, who are doubting or asking questions, who are critical, who want to have their own opinion and do not only say, “Yes, master, no master,” Fr Remery said.
“Ultimately, everything [we have achieved] is not about me or what we developed, but about the message of God,” he concluded.