Media and the spread of the Gospel

Pontifical Mission Societies’ Annual General Assembly In Rome From May 31-June 6

Joaquim Magalhães de Castro

The Annual General Assembly of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) began last Wednesday, May 31, and its work – which takes place at the Madonna del Carmine Institute “Il Carmelo,” located in the municipality of Ciampino, in the metropolitan area of Rome – will run until next Tuesday, June 6. The event will be attended by all PMS national directors from all continents as well as the president, the general secretaries and the person responsible for the administration of that institution.

At the opening of the Assembly, Monsignor Emilio Nappa, Assistant Secretary of the Dicastery for Evangelization and President of the Pontifical Mission Societies, delivered a welcoming address and presented a general report on the current situation of the PMS. Then, the participants of the Assembly heard a speech by the Pro-Prefect of the Section for First Evangelization and New Particular Churches of the Dicastery for Evangelization, Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle.

On Thursday, June 1, Archbishop Marco Mellino, Secretary of the Interdicasterial Commission for the Revision of the General Regulations of the Roman Curia, delivered a lecture entitled “Praedicate Evangelium and the PMS.” Subsequently, and until the morning of today, June 2, the participants of the Assembly discussed – in their group work, in continental meetings and plenary sessions – issues related to the New Regulations and the PMS in the light of the Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium on the Roman Curia and its service to the Church and the world, which came into force on June 5, 2022. Tonight, a film by the Slovak Directorate of the PMS will be shown.

On Saturday, June 3, after Holy Mass celebrated in Saint Peter’s Basilica, presided over by Cardinal Tagle, the participants of the Assembly will be received by Pope Francis. In the afternoon of that same day, the work will continue at the Colegio Mater Ecclesiae in Castel Gandolfo, where Assembly participants will hear a conference on “Synodality and Mission” by priest and missiologist Andrew Recepciòn.

On Sunday, June 4, the participants of the Assembly will go on a pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Greccio. The order of business will resume next Monday, June 5, with the interventions of Father Tadeusz Nowak, OMI, Secretary General of the Work Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith; Sister Roberta Tremarelli, AMSS, Secretary General of the Pontifical Society for Missionary Childhood; and Father Guy Bognon, PSS, Secretary General of the Pontifical Society of St. Peter Apostle Pedro Apóstolo, that will present the budget forecast of the respective works. Each report will be followed by moments of discussion and clarification on the contents presented.

On Tuesday, June 6, Father Din Anh Nhue Nguyen OFM, Secretary General of the Pontifical Missionary Union and Director of the International Center for Missionary Animation, will close the space dedicated to the activities of the International Secretariats. The same morning, reports will be presented by Gianni Valente, Director of Fides Agency, and by some members of the Committee for Communication and Fundraising of the PMS, coordinated by Father Yoland Ouellet OMI, Director of the PMS in French-speaking Canada.

On the afternoon of June 6, the final work of the Assembly and the closing speech by the President of the PMS, Monsignor Emilio Nappa, are scheduled.

This Assembly takes place a few days after Pope Francis mentioned the need to “speak with the heart,” during his message delivered on the occasion of Social Communications Day. “To serve the Lord and the local churches in the work of evangelization; avoid any polarization and make the Truth pleasant, looking with love at those who do not know the love of God,” these were the points that Professor Daniel Arasa, Dean of the Faculty of Institutional Communication of the Pontifical University of Santa Cruz (PUSC), and Father Dinh Anh Nhue Nguyen OFM, Secretary General of the Pontifical Missionary Union (PMU), developed during the closing ceremony of the 4th edition of the Multimedia Training Course “Communication is Mission,” edition 2022-2023, during which certificates were awarded.

The course, promoted thanks to the collaboration between the PMU and the Pontifical University, was aimed above all at university students under the jurisdiction of the Dicastery for Evangelization, and aimed to train pastoral agents in a mentality that considers communication and the means of communication as an opportunity of spreading the Gospel.

The experience, lasting one academic year, offers theoretical and practical skills on multimedia communication through the specific study of and experimentation with video, radio, web, photography and writing languages that students – priests, religious, seminarians, doctoral students and lay people present in the international colleges of the Dicastery for Evangelization, in particular from Africa, Asia and Oceania and the Apostolic Vicariates of the Americas – make available to the local Churches.

The International Center for Missionary Animation (CIAM), where the courses take place, is also involved in the formative experience. Students showed their personal growth in the field of communication by announcing their involvement on diocesan radio stations, especially in Africa, and in the social communication offices of their respective dioceses and congregations.