VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 29, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI has chosen to dedicate World Communications Day 2010 to the theme "The priest and pastoral ministry in a digital world: new media at the service of the Word."
The message for the 44th world day is addressed especially to priests, as the Church continues to celebrate the Year for Priests. The message also comes in the wake of last October's synod of bishops on the Word of God.
A communiqué from the Pontifical Council for Social Communications announced the theme today, feast of the archangels.
The Holy Father urges priests to "consider the new media as a powerful resource for their ministry in the service of the Word and wishes to express a word of encouragement in order to address the challenges stemming from the new digital culture," the communiqué explained. "If the new media is adequately known and appreciated, it can offer priests and all pastoral agents a wealth of data and content that previously was difficult to access, and it facilitates ways of collaboration and growth of communion that were unthinkable in the past."
The communiqué highlights the fact that "thanks to the new media, those who preach and make known the Word of life can reach, with words, sounds and images [...] individuals and whole communities on every continent."
This enables the creation of "new areas of knowledge and dialogue, enabling one to propose and carry out programs for communion," the council affirmed. "If used wisely, with the help of experts in technology and the culture of communion, the new media can thus become for priests and all pastoral agents a valid and effective instrument of true and profound evangelization and communion."
The Pontiff's statement suggests the hope that the communications media will be a new way to bring Christ to the streets.
"The priest's principal responsibility is to proclaim the Word of God made flesh, man, history, thus becoming a sign of that communion that God effects with man," the communiqué noted.
The World Day of Communications is the only worldwide celebration established by the Second Vatican Council. It is observed in most countries the Sunday before Pentecost.