Archive of December 31, 2013

Church in Papua New Guinea hosts training for journalists

Madang, Papua New Guinea, Dec 31, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - The social communications office of the bishops' conference of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands recently held a series of seminars training Catholics involved in media about their role in evangelization.

“The Catholic Church in Papua New Guinea needs to … see how she can be more present and active where modern culture and behavior is shaped and promoted,” said Fr. Giogio Licini, head of the Papuan bishops' social communications office, told CNA.

Last month's courses, which were attended by representatives of seven dioceses, as well as by several religious and laymen, were held at Divine Word National University in Madang, on the north coast of the main island of Papua New Guinea.

The Melanesian nation consists of the eastern half of the island of New Guinea, as well as numerous other, smaller, islands. It is located north of Australia and east of Indonesia. Nearly all its population is Christian; and 27 percent is Catholic.

Fr. Licini said that the seminars helped attendees see that their involvement in the media – whether print, radio, TV, or internet-based – is not just production, but formation and education as well.

“There's a need for a deeper closeness with secular media, for Catholics to help non-Catholic journalists with religious information” and understanding the Church, he said.

“There is not only a need for new radio stations, printed materials, or television programs, but to accompany and educate the public, especially young people, making them aware at the same time of the possibilities and risks offered by social media, advertising, and the internet.”

The week-long series of seminars will be followed up in the new year with several initiatives, beginning Jan. 24, the feast of St. Francis de Sales, who is patron of authors and journalists.

In September, the social communications office will hold a two-day workshop for journalists in the capital Port Moresby, explaining the organization and teachings of the Church.

A series of events will be launched in future beginning with the year 2014 on Jan 24, feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron of authors and journalists.

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Pope: 'Quality of life in Rome depends on all of us'

Vatican City, Dec 31, 2013 (CNA) - In his homily during evening prayer on New Year’s Eve, Pope Francis focused on the theme of time well spent, urging the citizens of Rome to better their city in the upcoming year.

“It is the last day of the year. What will we do, how will we act next year, to make our city a little better?” he questioned the congregation gathered in St. Peter’s Basilica on Dec. 31 in anticipation of the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

Thinking of “this city of Rome,” he continued. “What has happened this year? What is happening and what will happen? How is the quality of life in this city? It depends on all of us!”

“The face of a city is like a mosaic whose pieces are all the people that live there,” Pope Francis explained.

In the city of Rome, noted the Pontiff, one feels “more strongly this contrast” between the “majestic environment” of artistic beauty and the “social hardships” faced by many living there.

“Rome is a city of unique beauty. Its spiritual and cultural patrimony is extraordinary. Nevertheless, in Rome there are also many persons marked by material and moral misery – poor, unhappy, suffering – who challenge the conscience not only of the responsible public officials, but of every citizen.”

The ancient city is not only “full of tourists” but also “full of refugees” and those who are unable to have work.  No matter what a person’s circumstances, urged the Pope, he or she must be treated with “the same attitude of welcome and equality because each person is a bearer of human dignity.”

He went on to stress the need for the men and women of Rome not to merely watch life “from afar” or “from a balcony, without getting involved in the many human problems” of those who live in the city.

The closing of the year is a time to reflect on “how we have seen the time that the Lord has given us.”

“Have we used it above all for ourselves, for our interests, or have we known to spend it also for others? And for God?” Pope Francis queried.

“Each moment of our life is definitive and is charged with eternity,” he reminded the congregation.

“The Church of Rome feels committed to make its own contribution to the life and future of the city, to animate it with the leaven of the gospel, to be a sign and instrument of the mercy of God.

In the coming year, then, Pope Francis emphasized, Rome will “have an even more beautiful face if it is more rich in humanity, hospitable, friendly, and if all of us are attentive and generous to those who are in trouble; if we work together with a constructive spirit of solidarity, for the good of all.”

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