World Communications Day was celebrated on Sunday 28 May 2017 – the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord – which falls on the Sunday before Pentecost Sunday. Pope Francis has chosen the theme ‘Fear not, for I am with you» (Is 43:5): Communicating Hope and Trust in our Time’ for his message for 2017.
In his message Pope Francis is encouraging individuals and communities to engage in constructive forms of communication that reject prejudice towards others and foster a culture of encounter, helping all of us to view the world around us with realism and trust.
Pope Francis says that he is convinced that we have to break the vicious circle of anxiety and stem the spiral of fear resulting from a constant focus on “bad news” (wars, terrorism, scandals and all sorts of human failure). This has nothing to do with spreading misinformation that would ignore the tragedy of human suffering, nor is it about a naive optimism blind to the scandal of evil. Rather, he proposes that all of us work at overcoming that feeling of growing discontent and resignation that can at times generate apathy, fear or the idea that evil has no limits. Moreover, in a communications industry which thinks that good news does not sell, and where the tragedy of human suffering and the mystery of evil easily turn into entertainment, there is always the temptation that our consciences can be dulled or slip into pessimism.
Pope Francis goes on to say that he would like, then, to contribute to the search for an open and creative style of communication that never seeks to glamourize evil but instead to concentrate on solutions and to inspire a positive and responsible approach on the part of its recipients. He asks everyone to offer the people of our time storylines that are at heart “good news”.
You can read the full text of Pope Francis’ message on catholicbishops.ie.
Web feature for World Communications Day
We have published for World Communications Day which includes:
- Prayers of the Faithful
- Some general prayers for communicators and for those working in the media
- The Prayer of Saint Francis de Sales
- Some social media prayers
- Archbishop Eamon Martin’s 10 tips for engaging on the digital highway.
You can access the World Communications Day feature here: http://www.catholicbishops.ie/2017/05/22/pope-francis-message-for-world-communications-day-2017-2/
This week’s Faithcast podcast includes an interview with Archbishop Eamon Martin on the theme of communicating hope and how this especially applies in the wake of the Manchester terrorist attack this week. In this interview Archbishop Eamon Martin shares his reaction to the terrorist attack and also offers some practical suggestions for parishes this weekend and for those engaging on social media. He suggests that we use social media to share inspiring stories of hope and good news and that we consider hashtags like #KeepHopeAlive or #BeeNotAfraid instead of re-sharing material that is dark and/or upsetting.
[Note: The spelling of the word Bee is deliberate in this hashtag as it links in with the bee symbolism being used by the people of Manchester in the wake of this week’s attack. The picture of the bee, a worker bee to be specific, has long been the symbol of the city and it’s hard working past, specifically from when they were going through the Industrial Revolution. In the 1800s, Manchester also referred to their texture mills as ‘hives of activity’ and compared the workers to bees, and therefore the symbol was born. The bee symbolism has been adopted this week on social media to denote business as usual in Manchester.]
The #BeeNotAfraid also reminds us of those inspiring words of Pope Saint John Paul II “Do not be afraid to open wide the doors to Christ”.