World Communications Day was established by Pope Paul VI in 1967, in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, which sought to bring the gospel to light in the modern world.

This annual celebration occurs each year on the Sunday before Pentecost. World Communications Day invites us to reflect on how we can best use our gifts to bring about the gospel message of love, compassion, and inclusion.

Pope Francis has chosen the singular word “Listen!” as the theme for the 56th World Communications Day to be celebrated on Sunday, 29 May 2022. This invitation stirs up so many possibilities for consideration, both at a personal and communal level. In putting into context the theme for this year, Pope Francis shares this story:

A respected doctor, accustomed to treating the wounds of the soul, was once asked what the greatest need of human beings is. He replied: “The boundless desire to be heard”.Pope Francis, World Communications Day Message 2022 – Listening with the ear of the heart

Attending to the desire to be heard, offers a challenge to each of us in how we relate to ourselves, others and the world around us. It takes courage to be able to listen, and to speak the truth. We need only look at Mary MacKillop’s life to be inspired by her example. In letters she wrote to her mother, siblings, sisters, Julian Tenison Woods and other confidants, we gain an insight into her lived reality. Her attentiveness to life’s challenges, whether her own or the other, and the consolation of ‘our good God’, were apparent in many of her writings.

In an 1868 letter penned to her mother, Flora, Mary said:

Believe in the whisperings of God to your own heart.Mary MacKillop 1868

World Communications Day invites us to reflect on how we might listen to the stirrings of our own hearts and to the realities in the world around us. It challenges us to be stopped in our tracks as we identify those voices that need to be heard today and implores us to act justly in our response.

Take a moment to consider:

  • Whose voice needs to be heard today?
  • What is it we need to hear in light of our current realities; personally, locally and in the world?
  • How might you give voice to the inner stirrings of your heart?

Anne-Marie Gallagher rsj
NSW Region