Rome (Italy). On 16 May  2021, the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, the 55th World Day of Social Communications Day (GMCS) is celebrated. The theme of Pope Francis’ message is

“Come and see” (Jn 1:46). Communicating by encountering people where and as they are.

Pope Francis underlines the importance of experiencing, of “seeing with one’s own eyes”, as it was for the first disciples invited by Jesus to “Come and see” (Jn 1:39) to live in relationship with Him. One does not communicate only with words, but with  looks, with the tone of voice, with gestures, because “in communication nothing can ever completely replace seeing in person. Some things can only be learned by experiencing them.”

The meeting makes it possible to get closer to listen to the interlocutor by involving him/her in an experience, in a dialogue, to make the Word more effective as it was for the Church of the origins: “it spread throughout the world thanks to person to person, heart to heart encounters. Men and women who accepted the same invitation: ‘Come and see’, and were struck by a ‘more’ of humanity that transpired in the gaze, word, and gestures of people who testified to Jesus Christ … a chain of encounters to communicate the fascination of the Christian adventure. The challenge that awaits us is that of ‘communicating by meeting people where and how they are’.

In a video message before his apostolic trip to Iraq  from 5 to 8 March 2021,   Pope Francis says: “I really want to meet you, I come as a pilgrim of peace.” The Pope manifests the desire to know closely a reality touched by suffering and to be close to the people. Paolo Ruffini, Prefect of the Dicastery for Communication of the Holy See, writes: “I find in the happy eyes of the people, dressed up for the meeting, the most beautiful and moving testimony of the meaning of this ‘come and see’.”

The Pope’s Message emphasizes relationship as the root of communication and that in order to communicate well one must go and see, verify. Communication relies on passionate and courageous communicators, capable of going where no one else goes to see, to recount, to tell the truth. The Web is a formidable tool to multiply the ability to tell and share, and one that requires discernment, ethics, and responsibility.

The Message is addressed to all the faithful, to encourage the apostolate in social communications. It is the culmination of the World Communications Day, celebrated for the first time by Pope Paul VI on 7 May 1967, established in 1963 with the decree of the Second Vatican Council Inter Mirifica: “In order then to make the multifaceted apostolate of the Church more effective with the use of social communication tools, every year in all the dioceses of the world, with the judgment of the bishops, a ‘day’ is celebrated in which the faithful are instructed on their duties in this area, invited to special prayers for this purpose, and to contribute to it with their offerings” (IM 18).

There are various initiatives for the Day of Social Communications, to discuss and study the themes on the culture of communication.

From 1 to 16 May 2021, in the Dioceses of Molfetta and Rieti in Italy, the Festival and the Communications Week, events promoted by the Society of Saint Paul and the Daughters of Saint Paul, who through various initiatives, testimonies and round tables with biblical scholars, theologians, journalists and communication experts offered reflections and insights on the theme of the Message.


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