28 September 2019

Memory at heart of Pope’s message for World Communications Day message

“So that you can tell your son and grandson” . Life creates history. This is the theme chosen by Pope Francis for the 54th World Day of Social Communications, celebrated on 24 January 2020 in the memory of St Francis de Sales, patron saint of the Catholic press.


By choosing this theme, taken from a passage in the Book of Exodus, Pope Francis underlines how particularly precious is the patrimony of memory in communications. The Pope has emphasized many times that there is no future without being rooted in the lived history. He has helped us understand that memory is not to be considered as a “static body”, but more like a “dynamic reality”. It is by means of memory that the stories, hopes, dreams and experiences of one generation are passed on to another.

In addition, the next World Communications Day’s theme reminds us that every story is born out of life, from interacting with others. Communications is, therefore, called to connect memory with life through stories. Jesus resorted to parables to communicate the vital power of the Kingdom of God, leaving his audience free to welcome these narratives and to apply them to themselves. The ability to generate change expresses how powerful a story is. An exemplary story possesses a transformative power. We experience this when we turn to the lives of the saints, told through stories. The Holy Father recently touched on this point in speaking to the Holy See’s Dicastery for Communication, when he urged that the “great riches” offered by the testimony of the lives of the martyrs be communicated.

Once again, at the center of the Pontiff’s message, is the person and their relationships and innate ability to communicate. The Pope asks everyone, no one is excluded, to make this talent bear fruit: to make of communications an instrument with which to build bridges, to unite and to share the beauty of being brothers and sisters in a moment of history marked by discord and division.