I was a senior in high school when Pope John Paul II died. I didn’t really know anything about him at at the time other than what I had learned in public school (not much). I was sad at the news that he had passed away, but I didn’t feel that much of a connection to him.
Fortunately, a couple weeks later I was making a visit to a college and living with a student on campus. I was following him around each day as a way of getting to know the campus before committing to the school, but on that Tuesday he had to go to work and I was left to wander campus alone. Sitting in the cafeteria eating lunch I looked up at the news on a tv and saw a video of white smoke coming from a chimney. I ran back up to the dorm room and spent the entire day watching the announcement of Pope Benedict XVI as the next pope, and the events that followed.
Witnessing the history in the making and the vibrancy of the universal Church coming together, something I had never experienced in the little farm town that I grew up in, I became hooked. Since then I have been fortunate enough to be able to witness (through live video) many important moments in the Church such as Pope Benedict sailing into Sydney, Australia for World Youth Day and making his important visit to England, and I was even able to re-arrange my work schedule to be at home when Pope Francis was elected and during his trip to Rio for World Youth Day. While I wish I could join in these events in person, sometimes watching live on the tv or computer is a pretty good alternative.
In 2005 there was very little social media. Facebook was new, Twitter wasn’t around, and really nobody has heard of podcasting. The only way to follow the Pope was through mainstream news channels and a few niche websites.
Today, on the other hand, there are many tools that you can use to follow the Pope and the happenings of the Church. Instead of just reading the occasional encyclical or book put out by the Pope and relying on CNN to tell you about the Pope and what he is doing, you can read or listen to podcasts of his daily homilies on your way to work and check out his tweets on your lunch break.
Here are many of the places you can go to follow the Pope:
All of the Pope’s homilies and writings and video of his activities are posted on the main page of the Vatican website.
Vatican Radio will keep you up-to-date with the happenings at the Vatican and with what is going on in the Church all around the world
- English: @pontifex
- Spanish: @pontifex_es
- Italian: @pontifex_it
- Portuguese: @pontifex_pt
- German: @pontifex_de
- Polish: @pontifex_pl
- Arabic: @pontifex_ar
- French: @pontifex_fr
While there is not an official Papal Facebook Page, there are a few worth following to get your news from:
and of course, our page:
Updated Daily with News:
Updated Occassionally for Big Events:
Vatican radio posts many of their articles, including translations of the Pope’s daily homilies, Wednesday General Audiences, and Sunday Angelus meditations, in audio format on their podcast. These are usually the same as the text articles posted on their website but I find it more convenient to listen while I’m walking to work rather than sitting down to read the articles each morning.
The Pope App is the gold standard for apps about the Pope and news from the Vatican. It is free.
What resources do you use to follow the Pope?