(Content from Irish Catholic Bishops Conference)
World Communications Day will be celebrated on Sunday 16 May – the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. Pope Francis has chosen to reflect on the theme “Come and See” (Jn 1:46). Communicating by Encountering People Where and as They Are.” This theme recalls the Gospel account of the first disciples’ initial encounters with Jesus, who invited them to “Come and see,” to enter into relationship with Him. Later, one of those disciples, St Philip, speaking to his friend Nathaniel, invited him to “Come and see” the Messiah whom he had found.
In his message for World Communications Day, Pope Francis says Jesus’ invitation to “Come and see” is the way by which the Christian faith is communicated.
“This year,” says Pope Francis, “I would like to devote this Message to the invitation to ‘come and see’, which can serve as an inspiration for all communication that strives to be clear and honest, in the press, on the internet, in the Church’s daily preaching and in political or social communication.”
“That is how Christian faith begins, and how it is communicated: as direct knowledge, born of experience, and not of hearsay. says Pope Francis. He explains that seeing something for oneself is the best way of getting at the truth of things, and “the most honest test of every message, because, in order to know, we need to encounter, to let the person in front of me speak, to let his or her testimony reach me.”
Pope Francis also notes the importance of modern means of communication, especially the internet. “The internet, with its countless social media expressions, can increase the capacity for reporting and sharing, with many more eyes on the world and a constant flood of images and testimonies.” It allows many more people to share their stories, and to be witnesses of what they see and hear.
At the same time, however, Pope Francis warns of “the risk of misinformation being spread on social media,” which has now “become evident to everyone.” The internet is “a powerful tool” the Pope says, which requires of us, both as producers and consumers of information, a great deal of prudence and responsible care for how we use it. “All of us are responsible for the communications we make, for the information we share, for the control that we can exert over fake news by exposing it,” he says. “All of us are to be witnesses of the truth: to go, to see and to share.”
Click here to read his message in full.
Prayer Resources for World Communications Day
Pope’s Prayer for Communications
Lord, teach us to move beyond ourselves,
and to set out in search of truth.
Teach us to go out and see,
teach us to listen,
not to entertain prejudices
or draw hasty conclusions.
Teach us to go where no one else will go,
to take the time needed to understand,
to pay attention to the essentials,
not to be distracted by the superfluous,
to distinguish deceptive appearances from the truth.
Grant us the grace to recognise your dwelling places in our world
and the honesty needed to tell others what we have seen.
Prayers of the Faithful relating to Communications
For the Church throughout the world:
For Pope Francis, Church leaders and Christians everywhere.
May they communicate the Good News of Jesus Christ
with courage and conviction.
Lord, hear us.
For all involved in the work of communications and media
especially during this pandemic:
that their work may serve the cause of truth and justice
and bring real benefits to all.
Lord, hear us.
For a desire to be faithful witness to the Gospel:
That people everywhere may hear
God’s good news for the world.
Lord, hear us.
Prayers for Communications and Media
Prayer for Communicators
Lord, let the good news of your marvellous deeds fall on every ear,
and let all tongues rejoice in your wisdom,
your compassion, your faithfulness,
and your love.
Make me bold and let me share your Word
with those you desire to reach.
As my heart overflows with your love,
speak through me.
Let me proclaim your glory and your majesty,
and tell of the kindness you have shown your people.
This I ask, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Communications Prayer for those working in Diocesan and Parish Communications
you blessed the first disciples
with the power to spread God’s love
throughout the world.
Give me a new power to proclaim your word
through my own unique gifts
and through the channels of clear communications.
Make me wiling to receive that word
as it enters my daily life.
Bless all who use their talents
in the field of communications.
Guide those who send out the message
and those who receive it,
so that all people
may come to know your truth
and be renewed by your love.
We ask this through
Jesus Christ, Our Lord.
Prayer of Saint Francis de Sales
Be at Peace
Do not look forward in fear to the changes of life;
rather look to them with full hope as they arise.
God, whose very own you are,
will deliver you from out of them.
He has kept you hitherto,
and He will lead you safely through all things;
and when you cannot stand it,
God will bury you in his arms.
Do not fear what may happen tomorrow;
the same everlasting Father who cares for you today
will take care of you then and everyday.
He will either shield you from suffering,
or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace,
and put aside all anxious thoughts and imagination.
St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622)
Patron of Journalists, Writers, Editors and the Catholic Press.
Prayer for Journalists
Almighty God, strengthen and direct, we pray,
the will of all whose work it is to write what many read,
and to speak where many listen.
May we be bold to confront evil and injustice:
understanding and compassionate of human weakness;
rejecting alike the half-truth which deceives, and the slanted word which corrupts.
May the power which is ours,
for good or ill,
always be used with honesty and courage,
with respect and integrity,
so that, when all here has been written,
said and done,
we may, unashamed,
meet Thee face to face, through Jesus Christ our Lord,
Social Media Prayer by Meredith Gould
Christ has no online presence but yours
No blog, no Facebook page but yours,
Yours are the tweets through which love touches the world,
Yours are the posts through which the Gospel is shared,
Yours are the updates through which hope is revealed.
Christ has no online presence but yours,
No blog, no Facebook page but yours.
By Meredith Gould
Social Media Prayer by Brenda Drumm
Archbishop Eamon Martin’s 10 tips for engaging on the digital highway:
- Be positive and joyful. Offer ‘digital smiles’ and have a sense of humour. Remember that it is the ‘joy of the Gospel’ that we are communicating, so, as Pope Francis says: no ‘funeral faces’ or ‘sourpusses’!
- Strictly avoid aggression and ‘preachiness’ online; try not to be judgemental or polemical – goodness knows, there is enough of this online already! Instead, try Pope Francis’ approach of ‘tenderness and balm’.
- Never bear false witness on the internet.
- Remember ‘Ubi caritas et amor’. Fill the internet with charity and love, always giving rather than taking. Continually seek to broaden and reframe discussions and seek to include a sense of charity and solidarity with the suffering in the world.
- Have a broad back when criticisms and insults are made – when possible, gently correct.
- Pray in the digital world! Establish sacred spaces, opportunities for stillness, reflection and meditation online.
- Establish connections, relationships and build communion. Church has always been about ‘gathering’. In this, it is worth considering an ecumenical presence for the Christian churches online. The internet tends to be a place of ethical and intellectual relativism, and often of aggressive secularism. The scandal of disunity among Christians can be easily exploited and exaggerated. Therefore we must seek to share resources so that we can have a powerful Gospel witness. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people started noticing online: ‘See how these Christians love one another’.
- Educate our young to keep themselves safe and to use the internet responsibly.
- Witness to human dignity at all times online. Seek, as Pope Benedict once said, to ‘give a soul to the internet’. We are well aware of the pervasive prevalence of pornography on the internet which can ‘pollute the spirit’, destroy and degrade human sexuality and relationships, reduce persons to objects for gratification, draw millions into the commodification and commercialisation of sex, feed the monster that is human trafficking.
- Be missionary, be aware that with the help of the internet, a message has the potential to reach the ends of the earth in seconds. In this regard, let us foster and call forth charisms in younger committed people who understand the power and potential of the net to bear witness.