Participants to the SIGNIS World Conference that concluded in Seoul on Thursday, August 18, each received two rosaries as souvenirs from the global event.
The first set of 600 rosaries were especially manufactured for the occasion at the special rosary workshop in Rome to commemorate the SIGNIS World Congress 2022 in South Korea and were blessed by Pope Francis.
Dr. Paolo Ruffini, prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication, arrived at the congress with another 100 rosaries. These carry the papal coats of arms and were only given to those who attended the congress until the closing ceremony.
Participants were also able to take a number of the commemorative rosaries back to their local parishes.
“People in India are so much attached to the mother Mary,” said Fr. Martin Sadiq Masih, congress participant and CEO of Prarthana Bhawan TV. “The rosary is so much part of our lives. This is a very good gift for my parish families.”
“This provides a very nice spiritual side to the congress,” enthused Agatha Maria Ferei Furivai from Fiji Islands.
SIGNIS is the World Catholic Association for Communication, an organization whose mission is to “help transform cultures in the light of the Gospel by promoting human dignity, justice and reconciliation.”
“I hope that the SIGNIS World Congress to be held in Seoul will be a success and I especially love Koreans and the Korean Church,” Pope Francis said.
In its closing statement, the organization called on media professionals to be advocates for justice, to work for human rights, and to help in conflict resolutions.
“Media professionals … are enjoined not just to report events but to engage actively in supporting the victims of war and working towards conflict resolutions,” read its statement.
“We need to cultivate the journalistic values of advocating for justice, holding authorities to account, and establishing common ground through well-researched context and nuanced explanation, so as to provide a guiding light for our readers, viewers and listeners,” it added.
This year’s gathering of Catholic world communicators from at least 34 countries took place at Sogang University in Seoul and carried the theme “Peace in the Digital World.”
In his message during the last day of the gathering, Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, Archbishop of Seoul, told participants that media is “no longer accessories in our daily lives but protagonists.”
“Your role is more important than ever before,” said that cardinal as he expressed hope that Catholic communicators “will take the lead going forward, opening the way for digital world peace.”
“We hope for a true era of peace in which all the people of the world can enjoy peace in God’s kingdom,” he said.
Young Jun Lorenzo Lee, president of SIGNIS Korea, expressed his “deepest gratitude” to all the participants of the World Congress.
“I pray that the world’s media will make a mature leap forward in restoring the essential values of deliberative democracy and social public forum, purifying extreme and immature voices and claims,” he said in his message at the end of the global event.
He noted that “with the advent of the digital mobile era, public opinion and media are becoming dramatically divided and healthy middle ground is decreasing day by day.”
“The role of ‘light and salt’ among our Catholic media workers around the world is becoming more important,” said Lee.
Helen Osman, global president of SIGNIS, said the Seoul gathering congress has given Catholic communicators “a space and a place to listen deeply to one another, in the spirit of the Synod.”
She said “peace in the digital world is only possible if we embrace synodality.”
The Holy See announced in May 2021 that Pope Francis wanted the Church to engage in a series of consultations and conversations aimed at “mutual listening to the Holy Spirit at every level of the Church’s life.”
The “listening sessions” were supposed to focus on the way the Church discerns the presence and call of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church, and how the Church can develop a more “synodal” approach to that discernment.
From the diocese level, the synod will shift to “continental” discussion groups, followed by an October 2023 month-long meeting of bishops in Rome.