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Pope Francis has given his blessing and encouragement to the participants of a large congress on communications that opened today in Rome, saying he was pleased that it will focus on the power of imagery.
The theme of the SIGNIS World Congress is "Media for a Culture of peace: Creating Images with the New Generation". SIGNIS is a global association of Catholic communicators.
In his message, Pope Francis said he was pleased that “the Congress will reflect on the communicative power of the images which through the mass media are expressing and shaping the experiences, hopes and concerns of rising generations”.
“In a globalized world in which new cultures, with new languages and symbols, are constantly being born, and a new common imagination is emerging, Catholic communicators are increasingly challenged to present the wisdom, truth and beauty of the Gospel in a language capable of touching the minds and hearts of countless people who thirst for meaning and direction in their lives as individuals and as members of society,” he said.
The Pope expressed his confidence that “these days of discussion will offer the participants in the Congress fresh inspiration, encouragement and purpose in their efforts to respond to this exciting and demanding task.”
More than 300 Catholic communicators from over 80 countries are taking part in this year’s congress.
Introducing the event, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, said it is an answer to “the reality of our times.”
“During three days we will be confronted with the changes taking place in our culture and the many expectations of hope in the world, dedicating particular attention to younger generations, and thus to our future,” he said.
Archbishop Celli encouraged Catholic communicators to respond to the Pope’s challenge: “The revolution taking place in communications media and in information technologies represents a great and thrilling challenge; may we respond to that challenge with fresh energy and imagination as we seek to share with others the beauty of God.” (Pope Francis, Message for the 48th World Communications Day)
“Fresh energy and imagination is what Pope Francis is asking from us if we are to meet the challenges of the future with “dedication and serious professionalism,” Archbishop Celli concluded.
The #SIGNISCongress will offer conferences, workshops, screenings and events aimed at Catholic media professionals from different audiovisual areas and expertise. They will tackle, among others, social media, journalism, social marketing, cinema and spirituality, social documentaries, multimedia radio, communications training and media education.
The opening address, given by Fr Antonio Spadaro SJ, reflected upon the ethical and spiritual dimensions of the emerging digital culture.
For Augustine Loorthusamy, the President of SIGNIS, said the Congress will give many opportunities to “renew our thinking”.
“Every Congress is an opportunity to celebrate the richness of our diversity as a truly worldwide association of communicators," he said. "I am sure that this Congress will see old friendships renewed and new ones formed as we learn from each other are challenged and stimulated to think afresh. Sharing and listening to one another across generations we can start to co-create a new and effective SIGNIS that is ready to respond creatively and positively to the challenges of a fast-changing multimedia and digital world.”
“Let us hope that the experience of this Congress will help us to return to our various communications endeavours renewed, energised and inspired!” he concluded.