During his homily yesterday during the Mass for the dedication of the Blessed Columba Marmion Room for communications training for seminarians at the Pontifical Irish College in Rome, Archbishop John Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, said that proclaiming the Gospel creatively involves inspired techniques but is above all founded on personal holiness.
"How can we present creatively, imaginatively, compellingly the wonderful news about Jesus Christ and His plan for us if we do not communicate well?" asked the archbishop after quoting St. Paul, who, in his letter to the Ephesians, said he had been "entrusted with the special grace, not only of proclaiming to the pagans the infinite treasure of Christ, but also of explaining how the mystery is to be dispensed."
“Authentic communication,” said Archbishop Foley, “involves our own spiritual preparation, so that we may be viewed as authentic, credible witnesses of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
“There is no substitute for holiness in communicating the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said. “There are, however, techniques of communication. Jesus knew where and when to preach; used parables; He used symbolic actions - in fact, in the sacraments He left us outward signs which signify and confer grace, a created sharing in His own divine life."
"This evening," he concluded, "as we dedicate a room in honor of one of your most distinguished alumni, Blessed Columba Marmion, who certainly knew how to communicate through books and through preaching, ask his intercession that all of us - through personal holiness, profound learning and inspired techniques might be able to communicate effectively the truly good news of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
Blessed Columba Marmion O.S.B. (1858-1923), was the third abbot of Maredsous Abbey in Belgium and a noted spiritual author and retreat master. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on September 3, 2000.