Catholic communicators in Asia stress ‘listening with heart’s ear’

“Listening to the self and to others is essential to the human condition and to bring healing,” read a statement released by SIGNIS Asia

Asian members of the global network of Catholic communicators stressed the need for “non-judgmental listening” to bring healing in the world.

“Listening to the self and to others is essential to the human condition and to bring healing,” read a statement released by SIGNIS Asia.

The network held a webinar from July 12-13 that was attended by about 140 delegates from 16 countries of Asia.

“We have refined our response to the importance of listening, beyond hearing, to the true needs of those who are most affected in this time of continued uncertainty and intolerance, with the ear of the heart,” read the statement.

Highlighting the SIGNIS members’ role in society, the statement read: “Now more than ever, we have the means to communicate across nations and the world, so too must we become truly effective in the crucial role of being compassionate and listening communicators for the poor, marginalized.”

The Catholic communicators affirmed the need “to consciously apply active listening with love, non-judgement and discernment; to listen to what is unspoken; and to have a safe space for healthy dialogue in all situations.”

Listening is all the more needed for the voices of young people and underprivileged Asian women and accord them solidarity, trust and dignity they deserve, read the SIGNIS statement.

The association resolved to engage in and promote a culture of listening with genuine patience and empathy in the home, workplace, community and society; while actively and responsibly working towards personal change and the common goal of building communities of peace and dialogue.

Staff of a Korean television network provide support for the SIGNIS Asia TV Desk meeting from May 12 to 14, 2021. (Photo courtesy of SIGNIS)

Magimai Pragasam, webinar coordinator and SIGNIS Asia vice president, welcomed the delegates and moderated the sessions.

In his keynote address, Peter Rachada Monthienvichienchai, director of LiCAS News, an Asian Church news agency, said, “We are saying something when we listen to the others.”

“Listening is not easy. Leaping down is scarier than climbing up. Let us listen to children, the poor, and the marginalized,” he added.

Father Verghese Rozario, chancellor of Madras-Mylapore archdiocese, regretted people “losing their listening sense.”

“People suffer from loneliness. Listening can enhance our relationships and can be a source of healing,” he asserted.

“To love is to listen. Some listen but do not act. Young people need to see, judge and act,” said Angeline Moraga, a college student from the Philippines.

Father Jeyaraj, director of Don Bosco Institute of Psychological Services in India, said dialogical volunteerism, organizing like-minded groups, maintaining ecological equity, enhancing political participation and dialoguing with all can create a fraternal and peaceful world.

Participants at the SIGNIS Asia Journalism Fellowship Programme 2021 that started off with an Introduction Session on Oct. 26, 2021.

Celete Liboro Co from the Philippines stressed the need to listen to the others with empathy.

“We need to listen to others from three positions: You, the other, and a third person so that you get three perspectives.”

Frank Krishner, a journalism professor at Xavier’s College of Management in Patna, said that media don’t listen to the marginalized. They don’t motivate people to rise up to the occasion. They are silent over people’s issues.

“Even Church media don’t do its job well. Let’s use social media and online media to expose the issues of the marginalized,” he said.

Related Stories