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Come and See! John 1:46
May 14, 2021

Getting your feet wet

Vicar for Communications, Fr Robert Christo reflects on the Holy Father’s message for World Communications Day 2021.

Since 1967, after Vatican Council II, World Communications Day has been celebrated yearly on the Sunday before Pentecost.

Communication, communion, and community are all corner stones of the Church’s mission because “God’s self-revelation draws every believer into the faith community”.

All of Church communication mirrors the true image of who God is: Godhead, the Trinity— Father, Son and Holy Spirit dynamically  intermingling/inter-communicating with each other.

The Church’s mission outlined in Matthew 28:19 is to communicate the Gospel to the ends of the earth as commanded by the Lord at His Ascension.

This requires that we imagine, reimagine and echo God in the world which increasingly defines itself by communication—be it print newspapers, magazines, books; or telecommunications: film, electronic mail, and digital media.

During the COVID-19 pandemic even when proximity is impossible, Catholic communicators are challenged not only to use the media creatively  to communicate but integrate the message in the ‘new culture’ by “hitting the streets” with its new languages, new techniques, and a new psychology— a powerfully exciting and emerging communication environment of the 21st century.

For 2021, Pope Francis has chosen the theme, Come and See, communicating by encountering people as they are. It is necessary to creatively get our feet wet, wade through the waters and hit the streets to be witnesses of truth, to go see and to share. Nothing replaces seeing things for ourselves, “spending time with people, listening to their stories” at first-hand without compromising regulations.

The theme is drawn from Jesus’ first invitation for a relationship with St Philip in the Gospel of John 1:46—an invitation not just of words but “made up of looks, testimonies, experiences and closeness”.

In a word, LIFE. As an old man, John would later write his encounter not as hearsay but as news; the gospels are news stories. Nathaniel would then go and see too. That is how Christian faith begins.

So, whether it was on the River Jordan, up on a tree, near a well, in the marketplace  or on the seashore, Jesus was there on the spot to invite them to follow Him.

We too must “use all media, in all its forms, to reach people as they are and where they live”. It adds flesh to the old saying: ‘God meets you where you are.’


St Augustine reminds us: “We have books in our hands, but the facts before our eyes.”

Lord, teach us to move beyond ourselves,

and to set out in search of truth.

Teach us to go out and see,

teach us to listen,

not to entertain prejudices

or draw hasty conclusions.

Teach us to go where no one else will go,

to take the time needed to understand,

to pay attention to the essentials,

not to be distracted by the superfluous,

to distinguish deceptive appearances from the truth.

Grant us the grace to recognize your dwelling places in our world

and the honesty needed to tell others what we have seen.