When we look back at 2020, we will recall how the year began with the daily news focussed on the devastation caused by the bushfires burning across our country.

Meanwhile, silently, a new danger threatened, one that would call forth reserves of courage and commitment from us all. We will look back and remember media reports that highlighted the best and at times the worst of humanity. We will remember the selfless dedication of emergency workers who put their lives on the line, and we will be grateful that our media outlets offered timely and factual communication to assist in managing bushfire evacuations and the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Pope Francis, in his letter for World Communications Day 2020 chose the theme:

That you may tell your children and grandchildren” (Ex 10:2)
Life becomes history

Little would he have known that his letter, written in January before the world had woken to the gravity of the situation we were about to face, directs our attention to the importance of storytelling. Pope Francis states,

we need to make our own the truth contained in good stories. Stories that build up, not tear down; stories that help us rediscover our roots and the strength needed to move forward together. Amid the cacophony of voices and messages that surround us, we need a human story that can speak of ourselves and of the beauty all around us. A narrative that can regard our world and its happenings with a tender gaze. A narrative that can tell us that we are part of a living and interconnected tapestry. A narrative that can reveal the interweaving of the threads which connect us to one another.

The lack of opportunity to celebrate at Easter and ANZAC Day due to the pandemic lockdown brought us together in new ways as communities of faith and belief. Once again, the media played an important role in bringing these new ways into the intimacy of our own living rooms.  We began to discover that we were not isolated, but instead, were part of a global community that could give honour and praise and celebrate the beliefs and values at the heart of our community. Time will tell if these new ways will become woven into the fabric of our lives and culture.

Pope Francis reminds us that in Jesus God intervened in human history and reworked the fabric of human life.

When we remember the love that created and saved us, when we make love a part of our daily stories, when we weave the tapestry of our days with mercy, we are turning another page.

As we celebrate World Communications Day 2020, we thank God for the media that has helped us retell our stories. We pray that those entrusted with this sacred duty will do so with integrity and honesty for the sake of the common good and be fearless in standing with the vulnerable and those most in need.

Mary Ellen O’Donoghue rsj

Image: Digitization Transformation by Gerd Altmann obtained from Pixabay. Used with permission.
Image: Pope Francis by Annett_Klingner obtained from Pixabay. Used with permission.