The farewell to Pope Benedict XVI is nearing the end. Wednesday, the retiring Pope made his final public appearance before a packed crowd at the Vatican.
The Pope first circled the faithful in the affectionately named "Pope Mobile." Then he delivered his last general audience message, calling for a renewal of faith.
The Pope officially resigns the papal office tomorrow and his successor will inherit a job many say must embrace a more 21st century view.
Since Pope Benedict began a Twitter account in early December, social media has been a big topic surrounding the Catholic Church. But after the Pope leaves his position Thursday, many believe his legacy into social media will be continued.
"I think they will continue to find ways to use social media, Twitter and other means to share the gospel, to share the good news," said Jerry Klein, the Director of Communications for the Sioux Falls Catholic Diocese.
While it won't likely be the deciding factor in choosing a new Pope, members of the local diocese believe whoever is elected will be capable and willing to utilize social media.
"There are a number of Cardinals who will elect the new pope who already use it, they already have Twitter accounts they are blogging on a regular basis," said Klein.
Even though the Pope's Twitter account is just a few months old, local parishes have utilized social media for years.
"The Catholic Church universally, probably playing a little catch up, but individually, parishes I think have been involved in social media for a very long time," said St. Katharine Drexel Parish Youth Director Mary Jo Gallagher.
"The parishes are often where things happen first because the youth ministers are the ones that are in touch with the youth, they know how the youth are communicating with each other," said Klein.
Today social media is not just for young people; it's a way even an 85-year-old Pope can reach out to people of all ages.
"The people are beginning to see the value of using these tools, regardless of the age," said Klein.
"I think everyone, even my 90 year old father in law uses Facebook, so it reaches all generations," said Gallagher.
These local leaders believe reaching out online is especially important for the global leader of the Catholic Church.
"We are clearly and always have been a universal church but I think it is more possible today because of these tools to be in touch with people around the world," said Klein.
While we may have some tech-savvy cardinals choosing the new pope, they won't be sending out Tweets during the deliberation process.
Cell phones, computers or any kind of communication device will not be allowed in the Conclave of the Sistine Chapel where the vote takes place; however, Klein believes the religious leaders will go right back to tweeting as soon as the new Pope is announced.
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