Papa invites journalists to "wear the soles of their shoes and reach out to people"

The Diocese of Algarve “hosted” a virtual session to present the Pope's message for the next World Communications Day

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“Wear the soles of your shoes and go out to meet people”. The Pope's message for the next World Communications Day was presented this Monday, at the end of the afternoon, to professionals in the sector, in an online session promoted by the Secretariat of Social Communications of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference, in conjunction with the Information Office of the Diocese of the Algarve.

In this message, Pope Francis recalls that it is "the duty of communicators to recognize the face of the news that is the concrete person, often those who have no voice in society."

D. João Lavrador, president of the Episcopal Commission for Culture, Cultural Goods and Social Communications, who was responsible for presenting the document, stressed that the Pope challenges all communicators to bet on a “model of communication that, according to him, should guide by meeting people as and where they are».

«In a society closed in on itself, in a time of pandemic, annihilating itself in the fear of encounter, in continuous isolation, it is urgent not to lose what is intended for a true communication that must take into account the specific circumstances in which populations and communities live. concrete people,” he continued, appealing to, as the Pope's message under the theme “'Come and see!' (Jn 1, 46) – Communicating by meeting people how and where they are”, don't be “afraid to wear out the soles of your shoes and go out to meet people”.

D. João Lavrador stressed that Francisco highlights "the need to awaken social communication to the concrete reality of people, so often tragic and uncomfortable."

“In fact, the truth of the news cannot be limited to mere opinion or reports alien to the authenticity of the facts; should not make the mistake of following ideologies; and when it comes to people, it is the concrete reality that must be attended to,” he said.

The official also recalled that communication must take into account the "discovery of the truth, which is never alien to the person, but also to the community and the circumstances in which the human person lives and communicates."

D. João Lavrador also stressed that “communication cannot start from abstractions, prejudices, ideologies or manipulations that serve particular interests. On the contrary, it has to place itself in the discovery of the true and profound questions of the human being and lead towards Life in its totality».

For her part, Isabel Figueiredo, director of the National Secretariat for Social Communications (SNCS), questioned the communicators if they are working taking into account the "constant appeal to fraternity, inside and outside the Church" and the "courage to see and denounce" what they find around them.

«We manage to keep in mind in our daily lives, before writing a play, preparing a broadcast or thinking about a post for the networks, the ethical sense that does not allow us to escape from the language we know is correct, from the need to infuse what we do with a sense of belonging that unites us?”, asked Isabel Figueiredo, challenging the participants to “make a difference by writing an article, by publishing a news, by interviewing this guest and not that guest, by choosing front pages, leads, photographs, sounds ».

The director of the SNCS also informed that the centenary newspaper of the Diocese of Porto, 'Voz Portucalense', will receive the Dom Manuel Falcão Journalism Prize in an honorary way.

For his part, D. Manuel Neto Quintas, bishop of the Algarve, thanked the work of professionals in a sector that he considered “very important for the realization of the mission of the Church and all human missions”.

This session is aimed at diocesan secretariats and journalists, in which the Sul Informação participated, was scheduled to take place, in person, in the Algarve, but due to the epidemiological situation, it ended up being transferred to the Zoom platform.

D. Manuel Quintas recalled this fact, regretting that it is «possible to be face to face, physically». Even so, he stressed, "behind each face and each name, there is a life of dedication and donation to the cause of communication", expressing to all "appreciation and recognition for everything that is done at national level", no only at the ecclesial level.

It is a work, said the Bishop of Algarve, “which requires donation, surrender, often sacrifice of one's family, putting their own lives at risk, especially for those who go to the places and come to be able to transmit it with greater truth, reality and authenticity. ».

The prelate also recognized the service that information offices provide to dioceses.

«Here in the Algarve, since the Information Office was created, I have felt, not disowned, but much more supported in this sector. By the team that was formed and continues to work with great dedication and donation, I am pleased to publicly acknowledge their service, which is certainly one that all information offices provide in their dioceses”, he concluded.

The 55th World Communications Day will be celebrated in May 2021, having been the only celebration of its kind established by the Second Vatican Council, in the decree 'Inter Mirifica', in 1963, taking place each year on the Sunday before Pentecost .


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