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Seven verbs for Church communicators – reflections from the 2010 Catholic Press Congress

October 8, 2010
On Thursday, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications (PCSC), the group that oversees the Catholic Church’s activities in the world of social communications, concluded a four-day congress assessing the status of print media worldwide.  More than 250 participants from 85 countries were in Rome to exchange experiences and reestablish a collective sense of purpose for what it means to be a Catholic communicator in today’s fast-paced, cursory, fragmented and, quite often, financially-frail, media landscape. I was fortunate to be present and am grateful beyond expression.
Congresso-TorchiaFor the benefit of my peers and friends in Church communications/journalism, here is a summary of the conclusions of the congress in the form of thoughts to ponder (a form of communication that seems to have been used quite often by the President of the PCSC, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli):
Explain: Are we being understood by readers? How accessible are we making the Word of God to our audiences? Are we using the right language and the right technologies?
Show: Do we allow the social doctrine of the Church to come alive? Is the Gospel message clear in our collective media/stories when seen as a whole?
Love: Does God’s love for all of his children shine through our media? What role does Jesus play in our daily professional lives?
Learn: Are we allowing our personnel and peers to learn, to grow? Are we encouraging bold initiative and inspired action? Do we foster a culture of professional training and perpetual learning?
Listen: Do we go to work with the intent to listen? Are we on top of what is in the heart of our brothers and sisters? Can we read the signs of the times?
Serve: Are we succeeding at being loyal to both God and our fellow brothers and sisters? Are we able to extend respect and nurture dialogue with all?
Protect: Are we helping to nurture the young in our society? How can our work lead to the formation and support of youth?
In his closing remarks, Archbishop Celli reminded delegates that they should pay more attention to the well-being of youth and children, promote a dual commitment to serve Christ and humanity and to embolden their voice in the public square.  He also stressed the importance of speaking the language of the people – whether that be linguistically or technologically.
Congresso 3“To what extent are we accompanying men and women in their journey through life?” said Archbishop Celli. “Jesus – and his Church – love the world. This is a truth that drives us to listen to others, engage in respectful dialogue with everyone and speak with clarity, purpose and charity.”
Before departing for our respective countries, we benefited from an audience with Pope Benedict XVI, who encouraged all of us in Church-related communications and journalism to keep God at the core of our professional and daily duties.  The address from the Holy Father can be found here.
Materials and presentations delivered during the congress can be downloaded at www.pccs.va.
If you speak French, please consider attending the annual congress of the Association Canadienne des périodiques catholiques, being held October 21-22 in Montreal. More information: www.relimag.org
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