By Fr. Benedict Mayaki, SJ
Starting Tuesday, the Pontifical Academy for Life will publish short videos of Christmas greetings made by the Academicians themselves with their smartphones to wish the world a Christmas of peace and hope.
The videos are part of the “A Light Has Shone” initiative promoted by the Pontifical Academy. They will be published on Twitter, YouTube and on the website of the Pontifical Academy for Life.
Bringing Christmas hope amid the health crisis
Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Academy of Life explained that “it is a simple initiative in its conception and realization that is meant to bring a message of hope, peace, brotherhood in this time of pandemic.”
At the same time, “it is a way that the Pontifical Academy for Life has chosen for Christmas to follow up on our ongoing work.”
“This pandemic questions us deeply in the light of the Gospel, with regard to our lifestyles, the change underway, the kind of society we want to build to start down the road of universal brotherhood,” Archbishop Paglia said in a statement released on Monday.
Self-made by Academy members
Holding her child in her arms in her own short self-made video contribution, Prof. Hye-Jin Kim from the University of Ulsan (South Korea) highlighted that “motherhood is the hardest thing especially in this pandemic.”
She sends her “respect and support to parents who are protecting their children with infinite love and sacrifice in the middle of the crisis” and extends her wishes for “a happy and healthy Christmas” to everyone.
An assessment of the year’s activities
The “A Light Has Shone – Christmas 2020 with the Pontifical Academy for Life” initiative also provides an opportunity “to draw up a brief assessment of the 2020 activities,” noted the statement.
This year’s activities began on 26 - 27 February with the Assembly dedicated to Artificial Intelligence and the signing of the “Rome Call for AI Ethics” by Microsoft President Brad Smith, IBM Vice President John Kelly III, FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu and Italian Minister for Innovation, Paola Pisano on 28 February.
The statement also pointed out that the Academy devoted two documents to the pandemic: the “Pandemic and Universal Brotherhood” document of 30 March and the “Humana Communitas in the Era of the Pandemic” of 22 July.
In addition, the Academy made use of its social channels to reach and inform large audiences. Between January to November, the Press and External Communication Office published 1,116 tweets (posts on the Twitter platform). In November alone, the tweets had 127,000 views, and in September, the tweets peaked at 336,000 views for 97 tweets.
Looking ahead to 2021, Archbishop Paglia affirms that the Academy intends to continue its reflection about the changes that the pandemic is imposing on our lifestyles.
“We are also preparing online appointments with our Academicians and we will hold the September 2021 Assembly in attendance. Other topics carefully observed concern palliative care and vaccines, which are now the litmus test of an ethical approach to global health,” the Archbishop said.
Pontifical Academy for Life
Dedicated to promoting and defending the Church’s consistent life ethic, the Pontifical Academy for Life was established in 1994 by Pope Saint John Paul II.
Currently, the Academy has 163 Academicians (professors, scientists, experts). 57% are from Europe, 13% from North America, 15% from Latin America, 9% from Asia, 5% from Africa and 1% from Oceania.