A message from Fr Robert Christo – Vicar for Communications
For the year 2019, the 53rd World Communications Day took place on the feast of the Ascension of the Lord (June 2). The event continues to raise awareness of the means of communication used by parishes, dioceses, and services of the Catholic Church.
December 4, 1963, marked a milestone in the relationship between the Church and the media. On that day, at the closing session of the second period of the Second Vatican Council, the Fathers voted on and approved the Decree on the Media of Social Communications, Inter Mirifica
A milestone truly had been reached, for this was the first time the Church defined what it understood ‘social communications’ to mean. For an Ecumenical Council to speak of Social Communications as tools for the fundamental mission of the Church was indeed timely. It opened the possibility of a relatively unhindered implementation of these tools of evangelisation—in the service of the Church—with which to proclaim the Gospel, the Good News, in a rapidly expanding and rapidly diversifying world of mass media.
Thus, social communications officially became part of the Catholic Church’s programme of outreach and teaching.
From 1967 onwards, the Sunday after the Ascension was observed as ‘World Communications Day’ and what became an important aspect of this day, is the special message on the various facets of social communications, which the Pope offers to both the Church and the world.
Earlier in January, Pope Francis shared his annual message for World Communications Day 2019, entitled: We are members one of another (Eph 4:25) From social network communities to the human community http://w2.vatican.va/content/vatican/it.html
Some highlights of the text which can be appreciated from the Holy Father is “The Net [Internet] is a resource of our time, it is a source of knowledge and relationships that were once unthinkable but it also carries risks that threaten the search for and sharing of authentic information on a global scale”.
He also recognised “an extraordinary possibility of access to knowledge” that the Internet represents as “one of the areas most exposed to misinformation and to the conscious and targeted distortion of facts and interpersonal relationships, which are often used to discredit.”
Pope Francis reminds us if the internet becomes an opportunity to share stories, experiences of beauty or suffering that are physically distant from us, in order to pray together and together seek out the good to rediscover what unites us, then it is a resource. He added, “Moreover, the network we want is a network created not to entrap, but to liberate, to protect a communion of people who are free.”
As Christians celebrate World Communications Day, they are invited to discover the media and means of communication offered by the Church, to pray for the professional men and women of communication, and to collect funds to support the diocesan services for information and communication.