To communicate, after all, is to call others into communion, not only with each other, but also with God.
Media: if it had one less letter, it would be a bonafide curse word. At least that's how so many people feel these days. Whether it's news or entertainment, music, art, or literature: things that used to be universally respected as honorable human pursuits just aren't respected much anymore. Why? Because too many media people have largely stopped doing what they do in honorable or respectable ways.
I know there are many who say that nothing has changed, "The media has always been corrupt and salaciously corrupting. It's just more visible now because no one bothers to cover it up any more." But that isn't what I remember growing up. Journalists were a kind of hero. And journalism was only considered good to the extent that it was objective reporting. Art and music were expected to be beautiful or expressive. Dance and theater -- even comedy -- were supposed to enrich the culture. Literature promised the reader a thoughtful reflection on the human condition. In short, media was judged for its contribution to civilization and society. And most of it either met that standard or at least tried to do so.
I know it may surprise some people, but the world of writers and producers, editors and composers, artists and web designers, photographers and promoters is not devoid of God, or even of faith in God. For all our complaints, we may not be aware that there are very many Catholics working in every aspect of the media. By "Catholics" I'm not just talking about the news anchor who used to be an altar boy. I'm also not just talking about those of us who engage the media in overtly religious ways. A novel can affirm Catholic faith without ever even mentioning God or the Church at all. If you doubt that, just read "The Lord of the Rings."
There are thousands upon thousands of practicing Catholics who navigate the challenges, opportunities, and temptations of working in the media every day. Many do so as a way to glorify God with the gifts he has given them. Christians work in the media because they believe it has the potential to transform culture and serve humanity's common good. Thankfully, our Church sees it that way too. That's why we are celebrating the 50th World Communications Day this year.
If you work in any form of media or know someone who does, consider joining other co-workers in the same vineyard. As religious sisters given the charism of spreading the Gospel through media, the Daughters of St. Paul want to celebrate and support you with prayer, reflection, and an opportunity to meet other media professionals. At 2 p.m. on April 24, Father Robert Reed from Catholic TV will celebrate a special Mass for World Communications Day at the Pauline Mother House, 50 St. Paul's Avenue in Jamaica Plain. A panel discussion on mercy and how we can communicate it will follow. We'll have a chance to hear from photographer George Martell, Communications Officer Christopher Kelly, Sister Hosea Rupprecht from the Pauline Center for Media Studies, and the columnist you happen to be reading right now.
Jesus told his disciples to spread the Good News of salvation. That is the core of what it means to work in any aspect of communications. To communicate, after all, is to call others into communion, not only with each other, but also with God. Genuine communication always involves a true gift of self. Love communicates. And when the communicator has a relationship with Jesus Christ, it means that Christ is communicated too. For more information visit www.pauline.org/WCDMass.
Jaymie Stuart Wolfe is a Catholic convert, wife, and mother of eight. Inspired by the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales, she is an author, speaker, and musician, and serves as a senior editor at Ave Maria Press. Find Jaymie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @YouFeedThem.
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