Life becomes history”, the Holy Father says, “I would like to devote this year’s Message to the theme of storytelling, because I believe that, so as not to lose our bearings, we need to make our own the truth contained in good stories. Stories that build up, not tear down; stories that help us rediscover our roots and the strength needed to move forward together. Amid the cacophony of voices and messages that surround us, we need a human story that can speak of ourselves and of the beauty all around us. A narrative that can regard our world and its happenings with a tender gaze. A narrative that can tell us that we are part of a living and interconnected tapestry. A narrative that can reveal the interweaving of the threads which connect us to one another.”
Click here to read the full text of the Pope’s message.
Welcoming the Pope’s message for World Communications Day, Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland and Administrator of the Diocese of Dromore, said, “The relationship between the generations is a favourite theme of Pope Francis which he emphasises again today in his World Communications Day message. Throughout his pontificate the Holy Father has sought to develop the synergy that exists between younger and older people by regularly asking them to join forces to make the world a better place.
“That night, at the 2018 Youth Synod, Pope Francis launched a book called Sharing the Wisdom of Time. In the preface he says ‘the Lord wants me to say: that there should be an alliance between the young and old people.’ Pope Francis goes further to explain that this cooperation entails sharing experiences of older people, heeding their advice and creating a strong bond with the new generations who are hungry for guidance and support as they prepare for their future. This is exemplified in his World Communications Day message this year. :
Click here to read Archbishop Eamon Martin’s welcome of this year’s World Communications Day message.
Sharing the Wisdom of Time
In the book Sharing the Wisdom of Time Pope Francis has asked young and old to join forces to make the world a better place.
Pope Francis views elders as reservoirs of wisdom and historical memory and believes their insights will offer future generations much-needed understanding and direction. More than 250 people were interviewed for this book and a collection of stories was sent to the Vatican. These encompassed universal themes of love, loss, survival, hope, peace in the face of unimaginable tragedy, and above all, faith. Pope Francis received every story, prayed over them, and responded with sensitivity and grace to 31 of the stories and the issues they raise. The stories are organized in five thematic chapters: work, struggle, love, death and hope.
In his Preface, Pope Francis lays out his reasons for this collection of wisdom stories and the movement he hopes it inspires. He also contributes as a fellow elder, offering a story from his own life at the start of each chapter. And in his own wise and compassionate way, he serves as a spiritual shepherd, commenting on dozens of heartfelt stories.
The book, which was curated by Father Antonio Spadaro SJ, is available to purchase from Messenger Publications at this link.
- 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 willing 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
Pope Benedict XVI’s Prayer for Grandparents
you were born in the Virgin Mary,
the daughter of Saints Joachim and Anne.
Look with love on grandparents the world over.
Protect them! They are a source of enrichment
for families, for the Church and for all of society.
Support them! As they grow older,
may they continue to be for their families
strong pillars of Gospel faith,
guardians of noble domestic ideals,
living treasuries of sound religious traditions.
Make them teachers of wisdom and courage,
that they may pass on to future generations the fruits
of their mature human and spiritual experience.
help families and society
to value the presence and role of grandparents.
May they never be ignored or excluded,
but always encounter respect and love.
Help them to live serenely and to feel welcomed
in all the years of life which you give them.
Mary, Mother of all the living,
keep grandparents constantly in your care,
accompany them on their earthly pilgrimage,
and by your prayers, grant that all families
may one day be reunited in our heavenly homeland,
where you await all humanity
for the great embrace of life without end.
Prayer was written by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008. For more resources on grandparents visit the website of the Catholic Grandparents Association
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.