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Conference Communicators meet in Rome.

Did General Congregation 36 and the new Fr. General Arturo Sosa caused a change in the communication policy of our Curia in Rome? No doubt. From 16-20 April, Communicators from the six Jesuit Conferences were invited at “the house of Fr.General” by Fr. Patrick Mulemi, head of the Communication department of our Curia, and by Fr. Dardis, General Councillor for Discernment and Apostolic Planning. Such meetings took yet place in 2013 and 2016 (just before GC 36).

The first morning meeting made it immediately clear: for Fr. General Communication is not an empty word, as it wasn’t for Saint Ignatius. The need to communicate is a pure consequence of our mission to proclaim the gospel. So, Fr. Sosa committed himself to ‘say yes’ to many requests for media interviews and to have made video interviews for meetings outside the curia.

An important concrete decision is the building of a new curia website and a larger focus on social media. Fr. Robert Ballecer (USA) and Fr. Pierre Bélanger (Canada), also present at our meeting, will join next September the curia communications team, which of course is very promising.

A lot of time was foreseen to share experiences in the different Conferences. 4 of them were represented by ladies, which brought a lot of creativity, engagement and dynamism in the group: Anastasia Makunu (Nairobi, Africa), Tracy Primrose (Washington DC, USC), Fernanda Falcone (Lima, Latin-America and Karen Goh (Singapore, Asia-Pacific). South Asia was represented by Fr. Ashok Vaghela (Jescom Gujarat, India) and Europe by Fr. José de Pablo (Assistant JCEP) and Fr. Philip Debruyne (Webmaster JCEP). At the meeting participated also Caterina Talloru, close collaborator of Fr. Mulemi, especially for the Yearbook and the Web site.

Which materials we are producing might be useful for the other Conferences and for our Curia communications was a next team of sharing.
We also took the time to discuss a better involvement in the communication around MAGIS 2019 and the World Youth Days in Panama in January, and the Youth Synod, next October.
We had a very refreshing conversation with Irish bishop Paul Tighe (Pontifical Council for Culture – Vatican communications). For him the key theme in communications is not “how to use” the media but “engagement”: You build an audience - e.g. using the social media - for participation. Listen, converse, encourage – this has to do with mercy.

John Dardis informed us too about some taken steps in the elaboration of an Apostolic Planning and the search of Apostolic Preferences. Some folders have been printed and a new simple web site in four languages has been set up. Read also the article about the Universal Apostolic Preferences

It was a very intense week and it is the intention of the group to meet again next year. And as usual we finished our meeting in the “Camerette of St. Ignatius” and a fine restaurant.

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