Rome, 27 September 2018
A large group of Daughters of St. Paul from all over the world are currently meeting in Rome to reflect on important aspects of their mission in the Church at the service of contemporary society. The International Encounter (24 September – 7 October 2018) opened with the encouraging words of the Institute’s Superior General, Sr. Anna Maria Parenzan, who invited the participants to “rediscover, in the grace of our vocation, fresh enthusiasm and renewed courage to move ahead with a prophetic spirit.” The particular aim of the Encounter is to re-examine and focus attention on the activity of the Daughters of St. Paul as Christian publishers (Pauline Editions) so as to draw up commons lines of action and programming.
The 50 sisters, who work in the Congregation’s editorial sectors and make choices concerning what to publish, are asking themselves how to respond to the needs of evangelization today in a context undergoing major transformations. For the Daughters of St. Paul, the editing and publishing apostolate is not simply a profession but a mission that is the fruit of prayer, study, reflection and collaboration. The minds and hearts of the sisters are assailed by many different questions such as: What subjects should be given preferential treatment at the present time in society and in the Church? To whom should our publications be directed? What instruments of communication should we use to reach these audiences? The guest speakers addressing the group in these days are offering input to help the sisters answer these questions.
To start things off, it was necessary to trace out the features of the historical-anthropological framework in which we find ourselves today. The group’s first speaker, Dr. Marco Guzzi, a poet, philosopher, Pauline author and founder of the Darsi pace movement (a group aimed at interior liberation), helped the participants come to a clearer understanding that this is a very favorable time for renewing the proclamation of the Good News with all its disruptive novelty.
And this proclamation cannot ignore the new forms of communication that are profoundly transforming the publishing world. In fact, as underscored by the Encounter’s second guest speaker, Mario Pireddu–a university professor of mass media, new media and network companies, we are not faced with a fight between paper and digital books, but with an editorial ecosystem that is becoming more complex every year and whose various parts are in dynamic interrelationship.
It is therefore important to continue to study and seek new ways of interaction between the diverse [media] languages, with respect for cultures but also according to the needs and creativity of those who utilize them. Third speaker, Dr. Seàn-Patrick Lovett, head of the English sector of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication, pointed out that users/audiences will continue to be guided by the quality of the content they are offered, because it is content that guarantees credibility.
The Daughters of St. Paul are aware that their task is a difficult one, but they are equally aware that what motivates their commitment to it is their sense of mission: “Urged on by the love of Christ and the needs of contemporary humanity, we courageously take on with a pastoral spirit, creativity and discernment, the languages and technologies of communication best suited to ensuring that the Good News reaches the hearts of everyone.”