(Università Pontificia Salesiana, Roma) – On Saturday, April 28, and Sunday, April 29, 2023, in Rome, at the Salesian Pontifical University (UPS), the 13th edition of the Salesian Days of Communication was held, two days of reflection and training on communication-related issues.
Organized by the Department for Social Communication of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB), the Sector for Communication of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA), the Faculty of Social Communication Sciences at UPS, and the Pontifical Faculty of Educational Sciences “Auxilium” in Rome, the Days were inspired by the Holy Father’s Message for World Communications Day (WCDS) 2023, “Speaking from the Heart. According to Truth in Charity” (Eph. 4:15), and explored the theme “Reading and Interpreting to Proclaim.” Altogether, they were attended by about 120 young people in formation from the Salesian Family, with their trainers and formators.
Of particular note were the SDB Novices from Colle Don Bosco and Salesians in formation from the communities “Zeffirino Namuncurà,” of Via della Bufalotta, and “San Tarcisio,” both in Rome; and those of the FMA novices from the International Novitiates “Suor Teresa Valsè Pantellini” of Via Appia, in Rome; and Maria Ausiliatrice of Castelgandolfo.
Opening the proceedings, the two General Councilors for Social Communications, Fr. Gildasio Mendes and Sr. Maria Ausilia De Siena; the General Councilor for FMA Formation, Sr. Nilza Fátima de Moraes; the Superior of the UPS Vice-Province, Fr. Maria Arokiam Kanaga; the Rector Magnificus of UPS, Fr. Andrea Bozzolo; and Fr. Fabio Pasqualetti, Dean of the Faculty of Social Communications at UPS, offered their greetings.
Next, Dr. Vincenzo Corrado, Director of the Social Communications Office of the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI) and UPS alumnus, offered a reflection from Pope Francis’ Message for GMCS 2023.
In his speech, he took up the triptych of themes left by Pope Francis for the GMCS of the last three years, inviting to “go and see” between the folds of the world, to listen to its weaknesses with the heart, and then to speak about them: “Communication, before the use of concrete tools of communication, has the very need to rediscover this vocation of placing itself in a spiritual dimension with respect to humanity. To follow this path is to administer to the communicative organism the “therapy of hope” in a world in which, more and more, we struggle to hope.
Afterward, after a few questions from those present, the young trainees divided into groups to share their respective ways of informing and discussing a topical issue, which ranged from Pope Francis’ witness of the Church to the world of youth, from social media to the division between Republicans and Democrats, to the “hottest” topic of wars.
Thanks to the guidance of Fr. Andrea Lonardo, Director of the Service for Culture and the University of the Diocese of Rome, in the evening, the floor was left to Caravaggio, the great communicator of beauty, through his works present in the basilica of St. Augustine in Campo Marzio and in the church of San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome.
Saturday morning opened with the Celebration of the Eucharist in the UPS chapel on the Feast of St. Catherine of Siena, Patroness of Europe, presided over by Fr. Mendes and concelebrated by all the priests present. In his homily, the Councilor, taking up the testimony of St. Paul, a great communicator, said, “Reading and interpreting to proclaim, requires a clear option to communicate starting from our experience of the risen Christ. Our impulse to communicate does not start from ourselves, from our self-referentiality, but from the Kingdom of God.”
This is why Fr. Mendes warned against losing the integral vision of the meaning of communication: “Our interpretation of the reality of the digital world, of information technologies and artificial intelligence always, everywhere, requires the biblical gaze, the gaze of Jesus. Losing the referentiality of the Gospel is a risk for all of us: the risk of losing our prophetic mission to communicate in today’s time.”
Thus, he concluded, “Let us continue to communicate as heralds of the Gospel and proclaimers of the Risen Christ.”
This was followed by the various proposed Seminars – each one’s choice – on the topics of media communication: development, economics, and poverty; The “war” and other wars: geopolitics of the world; the media narrative of migration and the global south; the world from the perspective of the human rights of young people; the storytelling art of contemporaneity; Post Covid-19 and educational emergency; Western youth and the irrelevance of religions; Man – artificial – intelligence: the ChatGPT case; Information disorder and the search for truth.
In the different groups, held by experts and enthusiasts in the field, there was an opportunity not only to learn a lot, but also to ask questions, share and reflect together.
Afterward, the young trainees received a visit from the General Councilors for SC, who urged them to pursue their journey of seeking truth and deepening the dimension of communication.
Finally, the day ended with a moment of assembly sharing on what had been experienced and a time of fraternal agape among all, in the awareness of all those present that they had enjoyed a special occasion of reflection, communion, and revitalization of the mission of communication according to Don Bosco’s vision.
Source: ANS – “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana”