Rome (Italy). On 29 and 30 April 2022, at the Salesian Pontifical University (UPS) in Rome, the 11th Edition of the Salesian Communication Days was held for young people in formation of the SDB, FMA, and Sisters Servants of Charity, a formation meeting on communication at the service of the mission.
Inspired by the Holy Father’s Message for World Communications Day (GMCS) 2022, Listening with the ear of the heart, the theme “Being Christian in a changing world” was explored. About 130 participants from the communities of the Auxilium St. Mary D. Mazzarello, Sr. Teresa Valsè Pantellini, Mother Ersilia Canta; of the SDB Novitiates of Genzano and Colle don Bosco; of the communities of San Tarcisio and Gerini; and the FMA Novitiates of Castelgandolfo and Via Appia online.
Present were the General Councilors for Social Communication, Fr. Gildasio Mendes, SDB and Sr. Ausilia De Siena, FMA, who accompanied every moment of the experience by encouraging young people to think and seek together innovative and creative ways to be with the young believing and credible witnesses of the Gospel.
The greeting of the Rector Magnifico, Fr. Andrea Bozzolo introduced the first day of April 29, followed by a talk by Fr. Giulio Albanese, a Combonian missionary and communicator, on the theme Listening with the ear of the heart. “We need to know and understand the complexity of the world as a global village, always confronting reality. To have the courage to experience suffering, to continue seeking to believe, to hope, and to love, not giving up on the struggle. In a time of post-Covid-19 and of war and beyond, it is necessary to bet once again on formation, culture, listening-dialogue. The Christian community, as indeed all the educational agencies in the field, has the task of promoting the exercise of thought, influenced and enlightened in faith by the Holy Spirit. Listening has a central role in the grammar of communication; if there is no listening one is unable to proclaim the strong Word of God. Communication is mission. Whoever does not know how to communicate cannot evangelize”.
After a moment of dialogue-discussion with Fr. Albanese, the participants, divided into groups, reflected together on how to live as Christians in a cultural context which deems God not essential to give meaning to life and the values that matter are power, wealth, success, competition, prestige, physical well-being. These values are strongly in contrast with the Christian ones which instead express the primacy of God through a relationship with the neighbor made of listening, acceptance, service, gift, gratuity, generosity, forgiveness, mercy, sharing, communion. In the evening, after a moment of prayer led by the SDB novices, and time for fraternal agape, some video interviews made by the young people in formation on the value of faith and Christian life in today’s world were shared.
At the end of the day, the ‘Salesian Goodnight’ of Fr. Maria Arokiam Kanaga, Superior of “Mary Seat of Wisdom” Vice Province of the UPS, underlined the importance of being a “communicator of the joy that comes from God”, exhorting each of those present to live in such a way that every person who meets them can recognize in them, as in the apostle John, “the beloved disciple”.
On 30 April, the day began with the Eucharistic Celebration, animated by the Temporary Professed of the FMA Institute and presided over by Fr. Gildasio Mendes, who in his homily urged young people not to be afraid and to witness the joy of the presence of the Risen Christ.
The morning continued with a session of workshops on topics, curated and animated by experts, of great relevance and all linked to the life and difficulties that a young Christian can encounter today: Christian witness to peace in times of crisis, integral ecology, the challenges of gender identity, scandals in the Church, creativity in the liturgy, religious imagery on audiovisual platforms, the relationship between consecrated persons and the network, the relationship between faith and religion in the youth universe.
The #GSC initiative is promoted by the Department for Social Communication of the Salesians of Don Bosco, by the Social Communication Sector of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, by the Faculty of Communication Sciences of the Salesian Pontifical University of Rome, and by the Pontifical Faculty of Education “Auxilium” of Rome. The cultural and formative proposal, conceived as a preparation for the World Day of Social Communications inspired by the Pope’s Message, provides for a three-year formation course aimed at the study and deepening of some issues relating to communication and religious identity with the aim of promoting a culture of encounter; to develop communicative action in personal, collective and institutional awareness; encourage the acquisition of knowledge of the world of communication and technology in contemporary culture; encourage the acquisition of communication skills at the service of the person and society (of young people, education-evangelization). From a methodological point of view, the novelty is that the Salesian Days of Social Communications are preceded and accompanied by the sharing of materials provided throughout the year and by some methods of involvement.
The articulation of the proposal over the course of three years:
First year: Being a Christian in a changing world.
Second year: Reading and interpreting to proclaim: Evangelii Gaudium, Laudato Si’, Fratelli Tutti, Christus Vivit.
Third year: Christians and Salesians. The charisma in action.