Italy’s 8th Salesian Communications Day

02 May 2019

We Can Move from “Like” to “Amen”

(ANS – Rome – April 29) – “‘We are members of one another’ (Eph 4:25): From social network communities to the human community” is the theme of this year’s World Communications Day, the 53rd, announced by the Holy Father on the feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of journalists, as is the custom.

As soon as the theme was launched, the Communications and Formation teams of the Salesians, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, and Cancão Nova, with support of the Salesian Pontifical University (UPS) and the School of Communication Sciences (FSC) began preparations for the Salesian Communication Days, an in-depth meeting of SDB and FMA youths in the initial formation phase.

About 133 young people, with their respective formators, took part in the conference, held on April 26-27, at the UPS of Rome. Fr. Filiberto Gonzalez, general councilor for communications, underscored that today more than ever it is necessary “to educate in the Christian grammar of the Internet, based on our witness, on our authenticity of life, without turning off our ethical, aesthetic, evangelical sense.”

Prof. Rossana Virgili, biblical scholar of the Istituto Teologico Marchigiano, and Prof. Cecilia Costa, sociologist, presented the central themes, emphasizing that the Church should increasingly “deepen the new communicative-relational languages and educate the new generations to a critical sense of social networks, promoting a Christian style of presence on the Web.”

During the event, reference was made to one of the major problems of the current scene, namely, that communities in social networks are not automatically synonymous with community; moreover, “they feed groups that exclude heterogeneity, which favor unbridled individualism even in the digital environment, sometimes ending up feeding spirals of hatred,” as pointed out by Pope Francis.

During the meetings, activities were carried out with the young people in formation, who were able to participate in various workshops: Tommaso Sardelli held one on “Community and community in social networks”; Ermanno Giuca developed the theme “A community for social networks”; Fr. Pierluigi La Notte deepened the topic “Facebook and pastoral animation”; Jaime Guisado and Fr. Silvio Zanchetta illustrated “Community-communication”; while Fr. Fabio Pasqualetti, dean of the FSC, presented “From the educational challenges of information, communication, technology, and society to the formation of consecrated life.”

Also participating in the Eighth Salesian Communication Day were the novices of Via Appia (FMA) and of Castel Gandolfo (FMA), the novices of Genzano (SDB) and of Pinerolo (SDB), the communities of Gerini (SDB), San Tarcisio (SDB), Casa Valsé (FMA), Auxilium (FMA), Eusebia Palomino (FMA), the Salesians of several provinces, the Franciscan Missionaries of Christ, and several representatives of Cancão Nova (a member group of the Salesian Family).

We can move on from “I like” to “amen”; we can open paths of more human or humane relationships passing through “the path of dialogue, of the gaze, of the smile, of the caress, of the community, of the other. This is the network we want,” emphasized Fr. Gonzalez.

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Editor’s note: The Communications Office of our province urges confreres and communities to read Pope Francis’s message for World Communications Day and to do a formation moment of reflection about it during May and June. The Vatican and many dioceses mark World Communications Day on the Sunday before Pentecost; in 2019 that will be June 2.