On Wednesday, Pope Benedict greeted participants of the Catholic Media Convention, which is meeting in New Orleans. Speaking in English to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the general audience, he told convention goers that to “touch hearts,” communications media must present witnesses of Christ’s grace to the people.
The convention, titled “Spreading the Good News – Byte by Byte,” has been organized by the Catholic Press Association and the Catholic Academy for Communication Arts Professionals to bring Catholic media personnel together for spiritual, economic and professional development. Included in the packed schedule for June 2-4 convention are a wide variety of workshops focusing on subjects ranging from social networking to honoring the Sabbath in the non-stop media environment.
The Holy Father said on Wednesday that the theme “highlights the extraordinary potential of new media to bring the message of Christ and the teaching of his Church to the attention of a wider public.”
“If your mission is to be truly effective – if the words you proclaim are to touch hearts, engage people’s freedom and change their lives, you must draw them into an encounter with persons and communities who witness to the grace of Christ by their faith and their lives,” he told delegates to the convention.
“In this sense, it is my hope that your days together will renew and refresh your shared enthusiasm for the Gospel. Notwithstanding the many challenges you face, never forget the promise of Christ, ‘I am with you always, to the close of the age.’”
Among those scheduled to engage participants in the three-day conference is Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, who will take part in a panel-discussion of bishops on the meaning of working in Catholic media today. He will also preside over the convention’s opening Mass.