Rome (Italy). On 28 January 2023, in the Theological Study Room of the Basilica of St. Anthony, in Padua, a study day will be held organized by the Catholic Union of the Italian Press (UCSI) and by the Salesian International Institute for Educational Research (ISRE) to celebrate the centenary of the proclamation of the figure of St. Francis de Sales as the patron saint of journalists and writers.
It was Pope Pius XI who proclaimed Francis de Sales, on 26 January 1923, patron of “all those Catholics, who with the publication of newspapers or other writings illustrate, promote, and defend Christian doctrine” (Encyclical Rerum omnium).
And Pope Paul VI, in the Apostolic Letter Sabaudie gemma, on the fourth centenary of his birth (1967) wrote, “Given to Catholic writers and journalists as an effective heavenly Patron, may he recall them by example, direct them with authority, so that , never deceitful for the sake of profit or deceived by prejudices, but imbued with the spirit of Christ and honest lovers of the truth, may they fulfill their duty for the common good, and may they be worthy of the Catholic faith, of which they are servants”.
The event will also contribute to deepening some themes proposed by Pope Francis in the Apostolic Letter Totum amoris est (Everything pertains to love) on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the death of the Holy Bishop of Geneva (1622-2022).
The encounter, which will be held from 9:30 to 12:45, will be introduced by Mimmo Vita, President of UCSI Veneto and Michela Possamai, President of ISRE of Venice, together with religious and civil authorities and all those who have contributed to making the event possible.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Holy See, was invited to outline the figure of the patron saint of journalists. Also present will be Paolo Ruffini, Prefect of the Dicastery for Communication of the Holy See; and Father Giulio Albanese, Comboni missionary and journalist. The young reporters of Cube Radio, the academic broadcaster of the Salesian University Institute of Venice (IUSVE), will present a short film entitled “St. Francis di Sales, yesterday and tomorrow”, to highlight its current relevance.
A round table will follow, moderated by the National President of UCSI Vincenzo Varagona, focused on the infodemic and the transformation of today’s communication, which will be attended by journalists Lucia Bellaspiga from Avvenire and Vania de Luca from Tg3, the Professors of the University of Padua Vittorio Berti (History of Christianity), Fabrizio Ferrari (History of religions) and Enzo Pace (Sociology of religions), the President of the Italian Catholic Webmasters Association (WeCa) Fabio Bolzetta and Federico Ruozzi (Professor of History of Christianity at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia).
The choice of Padua to host the event is dictated by the fact that Francis di Sales attended the University of this city between 1588 and 1592 to study Law and Theology and it was most likely there that he made the decision to become a priest.
The morning of study and in-depth analysis, accredited by the Order of Journalists of the Veneto region for the achievement of training credits, is supported by the Cassa di Risparmio di Padova e Rovigo Foundation, Banca Patavina and the Veneto Region and enjoys the patronage of: Province and city of Padua , University of Padua, National and regional Order of Journalists, Veneto Journalists Syndicate, Vatican News, Fisc, Weca, Salesians of Don Bosco Italy, Triveneto Episcopal Conference, Diocese of Padua, IUSVE, Basilica of Sant’Antonio, Messaggero di Sant’Antonio , Ente Nazionale Sordi (Ens) and the collaboration of the voluntary Consortium for the protection of the wines of the Euganean Hills.