Cardinal Pietro Parolin addressing participants in the 26th edition of the St. Francis de Sales Days Cardinal Pietro Parolin addressing participants in the 26th edition of the St. Francis de Sales Days 

Parolin: Fidelity to Jesus key to effective Catholic communication

The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, addresses participants in the 26th edition of the St. Francis de Sales Days, in Lourdes, France, and encourages Catholic communicators to be authentic prophets of the Gospel so as to be heard in a secularized world.

By Lisa Zengarini

Cardinal Parolin has encouraged Catholic communicators and journalists not to be afraid to announce the Gospel to today’s secularized world, reminding them that the effectiveness of their mission descends from their “intimacy with Jesus” and from their “love for the Church”.

The encouragement came during a Mass on Friday for Catholic communicators and journalists gathered in Lourdes, France, this week for the 26th edition of the St. Francis de Sales Days, an annual conference bringing together Catholic media professionals to discuss and reflect on their mission and the challenges of Catholic communication today.

The event is organized annually by the Federation of Catholic Media of France on the occasion of the feast day of St. Francis de Sales, the Patron of  journalists, in collaboration with SIGNIS, the World Catholic Association for Communication, the Catholic Union of the Italian Press (UCSI), and the Vatican Dicastery for Communication, which joined the initiative for the first time in 2018.

“How to make ourselves heard?”

Over the past three days, more than 200 Catholic journalists and communicators from France and several countries across the world have been discussing the theme “How to make ourselves heard?”

In his homily, Cardinal Parolin noted that this question is a major concern of Pope Francis, who has repeatedly insisted on the duty of every baptized person, and in a particular way for Catholic communicators and journalists, to “constantly revitalize the mission of the Church” in our world.

Personal encounter with Jesus

Echoing his words in the Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium”, the Vatican Secretary of State highlighted that an essential starting point for Catholic communicators to communicate the Gospel effectively to their contemporaries is their personal encounter with Jesus. “To be a witness today, a prophet in our world, is first of all to strengthen our attachment to the Lord”, he said.

“Let us always remember our encounter with Jesus, "the sun of justice", present in His Word and in the Sacraments of the Church. Let our life be truly inhabited by the One we want to announce, and our discourse will be inspired; here is the essential starting point of a prophetic word that can touch our contemporaries.”

In this perspective, Cardinal Parolin also emphasized the need for Catholic communicators to “deepen the content of their faith”, and to announce the Gospel “in all its authenticity and integrity”, and not “a vague Gospel”, adapted to the spirit of the world and our personal options.

This, he said, “requires a knowledge of the Scriptures, but also of the teachings of the Magisterium and the Tradition of the Church”.

“A Christian must not be afraid to announce the whole Truth of Christ in its specificity and its requirements, because we are certain of the action of the Holy Spirit who prepares the world to hear Him and to welcome Him.”

Courage and authenticity

Cardinal Parolin acknowledged that speaking out in today's world is not always easy and requires courage, because “we sometimes find ourselves mocked, marginalized, even persecuted.” However, he remarked, the Magisterium of the Popes has insistently invited the faithful not to be afraid of going against the mainstream and “to be wary of ideological colonisations”.

Bringing his homily to an end, Cardinal Parolin reiterated that for Catholic communicators to be heard authenticity is an essential feature. He further reminded participants that the fruits of communicating the Gospel always come from the Holy Spirit, and that Catholic communication must be in “communion with the Church”.

“Our communication must be calm and serene, because its fruitfulness comes from the Spirit. It must also be communion, effective and affectionate communion with the Church, because this is also a way of making oneself heard.”

The ‘Jacques Hamel Award’ assigned 

During the three-day event participants discussed several topics, including peace in the context of the ongoing war in Ukraine and of what Pope Francis has repeatedly described as “a Third World War fought in a piecemeal”.

On Thursday Cardinal Parolin gave a keynote speech offering an insight into Vatican diplomacy and the Holy See’s ongoing commitment to promoting world peace.

The Secretary of State also presented the ‘Jacques Hamel Award’, rewarding initiatives promoting peace and, in particular, interreligious dialogue, in the spirit of Pope Francis’ Encyclical  Fratelli Tutti.

The award is named after Fr. Jacques Hamel,  killed in a terrorist attack while he offered Mass in the church of Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, on July 26, 2016.  It was assigned to Cristophe Chaland, editor for the French Catholic weekly "Le Pélérin" for his report on Italian missionary Pierluigi Maccalli and the two years he spent as a hostage of Jihadi groups in Mali.

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27 January 2023, 17:16