New Forms of Communication for Ministry

by Sr. Susan Wolf, SND on November 29, 2010

in Catholic, Pope Benedict XVI, Uncategorized

On November 13, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI addressed the participants in the plenary assembly of The Pontifical Council for Culture in Rome. The theme of the meeting was Culture of Communication and New Languages. In the course of his talk, the Holy Father made several references to modern communications. Here are three excerpts:

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In a world that makes communication its winning strategy, the Church, repository of the mission to communicate to all peoples the Gospel of Salvation, does not remain indifferent and alien. On the contrary she seeks to avail herself of the new languages and new forms of communication with a renewed and creative spirit, but also with a critical eye and attentive discernment.

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In the search for truth, the Church wishes to speak to everyone, but for the dialogue and communication to be effective and fruitful, it is necessary to tune in to the same frequency…

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In today’s culture of technology too, the Gospel is the guide and the permanent paradigm of inculturation, purifying, healing and elevating the best features of the new languages and the new forms of communication.

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The task of the follower of Jesus Christ is to communicate the Gospel through proclamation and witness of life. This task is to be carried out according to the capacity of the recipient and in the context of their lives. Inculturation of the Gospel means using the best features of every language and form of communication to share the message of salvation. In reference to the new forms of communication, it means, according to the Holy Father, being on the same frequency. This is a challenge for all of us. For those of us knew life before the Internet, it means learning new forms of communication for the sake of being in dialogue with those whom we are called to serve. If we have faith today, it is because someone in our history (past or recent), shared that gift with us (or our ancestors) in a way that could be understood. It is now our turn to share it with others and we must do it with a renewed and creative spirit, but also with a critical eye and attentive discernment.

I am renewed when I listen (and read) the deep desires of people, their struggles, their triumphs, their everyday experiences—often lived with a humility I am challenged to imitate. I become “creative” when I seek ways to be with them in person or online. My guiding principles are to be loving, honest and respectful.

What does it mean for you to have a renewed and creative spirit in ministry? What principles do you use to evaluate the way you communicate the Gospel? Please respond in the comments below.

The full text of the Holy Father’s address can be found by clicking here.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Sr. Marilyn Marie Ellerbrock November 29, 2010 at 7:23 am

I recently heard a talk in which the presenter referred to our role in the social media culture as our call to be missionaries. I find this in Pope Benedict’s comments as well. It’s not for us to ignore this culture or to attempt to totally change or convert it to our way of thinking/being. I believe we are called to capitalize on what is best in this culture, learn from it, and build on it to bring about God’s kingdom.

Caroline Cerveny, SSJ-TOSF November 29, 2010 at 11:39 am

This past summer, during the Caribbean Catholic Communications School Institute, we focused on becoming Digital Disciples, as Sr. Marilyn said, “a call to be missionaries” now in a digital and virtual world. It is so important today to become more and more comfortable with the digital tools that are on our doorsteps. For those who are interested in learning more, I invite you to the INTERACTIVE CONNECTIONS CONFERENCE where we co-locate with the Florida Educational Technology Conference. Monday evening and Tuesday, the program focuses on a Pastoral Technology Summit. For Program Information – http://issuu.com/cyberpilgrim/docs/presentation_program_3. To Register for the conference – http://intconnect.eventbrite.com/. To become missionaries in this digital world, we need to learn as much as possible about these wonderful tools to engage in ministry and evangelization!

Marc Cardaronella December 6, 2010 at 10:01 pm

“In today’s culture of technology too, the Gospel is the guide and the permanent paradigm of inculturation”

I never thought of it this way but inculturation is exactly what is needed. We have to inculturate the gospel for the online world. Speak to the digital natives in there own language, on their own terms, in their own medium, through these new forms of communication. With a little effort, they can become communication strategies for ministry. Thanks for sharing this!

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