Some of the participants in the event Some of the participants in the event  

Vatican hosts 'digital Synod' Christmas celebration for Catholic influencers

Young evangelisers meet online to pray and reflect about a rapidly approaching Christmas, as part of a "digital Synod" hosted by the Dicastery for Communication.

By Sebastián Sansón Ferrari and Francesca Merlo

The initiative "The Church listens to you" took place on Saturday, 17 December, inviting digital evangelizers and hundreds of young people from five different continents, who met online through Zoom. 

The meeting, organized by the Vatican's Dicastery for Communication, opened with Monsignor Lucio Adrián Ruiz, Secretary of the Dicastery, explaining, "These meetings are born out of 'synodal listening,' where so many of you have expressed the need to be able to experience the Universal Church as well, to enrich the life of your communities and your own personal lives."

Joining Msgr. Ruiz were Archbishop Rino Fisichella, from the Dicastery for Evangelisation, who is also in charge of the preparation of the Holy Year in 2025; and Dr. Paolo Ruffini, Prefect of the Dicastery for Communication. The event was translated into English, French, Portuguese, and Italian.

The event saw the young people gather as a praying community to wait together for Christmas and, according to the programme, to continue preparing to welcome the Child Who comes to save us. 

Go forward with creativity and without fear

In his introductory message, Msgr. Ruiz clarified that "the Digital Continent presents itself as that 'space' where there are so many men and women who are looking for a reason to live, there are so many who do not know Jesus, it is a place where truth and goodness are often hard to find... and so we must bring Jesus, with our witness, with our words, sowing hope, and, as on the road to Emmaus, making the Lord present, explaining the Scriptures to them in their own language so that they can understand them, so that they can come to recognize Him and rejoice in the "Breaking of the Bread."

An image from all

In the Zoom chat, the organizing team invited people to upload a photo that, to them, was representative of the life and mission of digital evangelizers.

In this way, by combining more than 100 images, a gigantic mosaic was formed, a real collage that condenses faces, names, and stories.

Four candles, one path

The liturgy followed the path of the Advent wreath and included the lighting of the four candles. The desire is that they manifest the hope that Christ, the Light of the World, comes to bring us.

As each candle was lit, the names by which He is known ("of the prophet", "of Bethlehem", "of the shepherds", and "of the angels") were presented, with the illumination of a scriptural text.

Birthday wishes for Pope Francis

 A particularly significant moment was the singing of "Happy Birthday" in various languages for the Holy Father, who turned 86 on that same day.

At the end of the event, 12 small statues of the Child Jesus were displayed and blessed by the Pope himself. They will be given as gifts to several young evangelizers.

Sharing is the key word

With the wish of a Merry Christmas "that comes in a dark time, in a confusing time," said Dr. Ruffini, who claimed the challenge of communicators to remember the Christmas that has already arrived.

"In a time that is not ours, but that then as now has changed and is changing history, we are invited not to be afraid because God truly became man, and therefore also a child."

He concluded by stating that they shared an event that transcends us, and therefore pierces the darkness: "It dissolves the idolatrous risk of self-reference and builds communion through communication."

"Communion is the Christian word to communicate the Christmas that has come and is yet to come. And to announce the certainty of the light beyond the darkness. Of the resurrection beyond death," he affirmed.

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20 December 2022, 10:26