Good News Storylines

by Sr. Susan Wolf, SND on May 2, 2017

in Pope Francis

The lens that Christians use to view and interpret reality is the Good News lens. This lens does not ignore suffering and pain, but it sees them in the larger context in which our loving God is present to comfort us. It is a context in which we can be in solidarity with those who suffer, comfort them and seek to alleviate the conditions that harm them. These thoughts are part of the message of Pope Francis for the 51st World Communications Day which takes place on Sunday, May 28.

The title of this year’s message is “Fear Not, for I am with You” (Is 43:5) Communicating Hope and Trust in Our Time.” In speaking about the media, Pope Francis writes:

I would like, then, to contribute to the search for an open and creative style of communication that never seeks to glamourize evil but instead to concentrate on solutions and to inspire a positive and responsible approach on the part of its recipients. I ask everyone to offer the people of our time storylines that are at heart “good news.”

Whether we are part of the official national or local “media”, or not, we are all communicators. If we are on social media, we are digital communicators—even if our audience is mostly family and friends. If we are responsible for websites and Facebook Pages or other social media sites for parishes, religious communities or organizations, we are communicators with a duty to offer those who visit our sites “storylines that are at heart ‘good news.’”

Pope Francis reminds us:

Life is not simply a bare succession of events, but a history, a story waiting to be told through the choice of an interpretive lens that can select and gather the most relevant data. In and of itself, reality has no one clear meaning. Everything depends on the way we look at things, on the lens we use to view them.

Good news storylines share and celebrate the joy that comes from following Jesus, participating in a faith community, serving our neighbor, reaching out beyond ourselves and practicing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Good news storylines strengthen faith, hope and charity. They tell of courage, generosity, forgiveness, perseverance and kindness even in the most challenging situations.  They overcome that “feeling of growing discontent and resignation that can at times generate apathy, fear or the idea that evil has no limits.”

There is no doubt that our faith, our Church, the scriptures, and our communities have good news stories to share. The challenge for us is to open our own eyes and hearts to these stories and make the effort to put them into everyday words and visuals on websites and social media platforms.

Take a look at your ministry website and the last 10 posts on your ministry Facebook Page (or other social media platform) and see if you can find one or more good news storylines. If yes, congratulations.  If no,  what can you do about it?

Storylines do not have to be grand or exotic, in fact everyday goodness is very attractive.  What are some good news storylines that you have shared on your website or social media site? Examples can make it easier for others to see how they, too, can be communicators of good news online.

You can read the complete message of Pope Francis here.