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Our anniversary reflection

The month of May in the universal Church has always been Marian focused by nature, but for us at Catholic Media Services Limited (CAMSEL), the month means another anniversary –an opportunity to reflect not only on where we have been but where we are going.

On Saturday, May 6, The Catholic News completed its 131st year as one of the oldest weekly publications, secular or religious, in the English-speaking Caribbean.

The period of Covid-19 ‘lockdown’–with no public Masses or Services resulting in reduced circulation–has proven to the entire Catholic News Editorial team, staff at CAMSEL, and all who contribute behind the scenes, that people look forward to reading their Catholic News every week by the continued demand for it.

Our heartfelt thanks to all who continue to support the paper by purchasing copies and using their personal networks to spread the Good News. This is all part of our ministry, our means to evangelise. Newsprint may be considered today as a legacy medium in the face of the modern social media, but it still reaches those in the pews.

Four years ago, in a day-long exercise to reflect on the paper’s direction, a contributing priest said that the paper had to become either a publication people will want to read, or a paper that will not offend.

On reflection, we want both. Our aim is to offer as many schools of thought to our Church and national community bringing information, education, teaching and understanding according to Roman Catholic Church tradition.

Also in May, the Sunday before the Solemnity of Pentecost is World Day of Social Communications – World Communications Day (WCD). This year it will be marked on Sunday, May 21.

In recent years, Pope Francis has called upon Catholic communicators to utilise a specific framework in the method by which their messages are framed and communicated to their audiences.

This model for communication takes the form of themes, like Come & See (2021): This requires that we go to the spaces, see the situation, and discern it through a Catholic lens. We see here that Pope Francis encourages us to venture out and look with a curious mind as we engage our society.

The next was Listen with the Heart (2022): Pope Francis describes this as, “an open and welcome way of communication”. Within our context this is the path to living our Synodal call for community, inclusivity, and dialogue. Effective communication requires that we first listen to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Speak with the Heart is the theme for WCD 2023. We must not be afraid to speak truth but speak truth with love and compassion just as Jesus did.

Pope Francis states, “the call to speak with the heart radically challenges the times in which we are living, which are so inclined towards indifference and indignation, at times even on the basis of disinformation which falsifies and exploits the truth.”

It is the aim of CAMSEL through The Catholic News to inspire persons within the pews, as well as educate and encourage media teams and ministries within parish communities in the above framework to encourage the widespread sharing of the Good News within our society.

The Holy Father’s message to communicators ends with a prayer that we can all take to heart as we continue in this vineyard.

“May the Lord Jesus, the pure Word poured out from the heart of the Father, help us to make our communication clear, open and heartfelt.

“May the Lord Jesus, the Word made flesh, help us listen to the beating of hearts, to rediscover ourselves as brothers and sisters, and to disarm the hostility that divides.

“May the Lord Jesus, the Word of truth and love, help us speak the truth in charity, so that we may feel like protectors of one another.”