(Source: CD/Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference)

Archbishop Eamon Martin has welcomed Pope Francis’ message for the 54th World Day of Social Communications which will be celebrated on Sunday May 24 – the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord.

The theme of Pope Francis’ annual message for the World Communications Day this year reflects on the power of storytelling: ‘That you may tell your children and grandchildren’ (Ex 10:2).

Archbishop Eamon said, “During this time of COVID19 restrictions, many grandparents have mentioned how much they miss the physical company and affection of their grandchildren – especially their hugs!

“The relationship between the generations is a favourite theme of Pope Francis which he reiterates in his communications message for 2020. The Pope often speaks of the bond that exists between younger and older people and for his communications message this year he particular focuses on the importance of sharing stories across the generations.

“The theme of Pope Francis’ message reminds us that ‘from childhood we hunger for stories… stories influence our lives… [although] not all stories are good stories’.

“By choosing his theme from the Book of Exodus, the Holy Father underpins how memories and storytelling are precious in our lives and in all the best communications.

“The telling of stories – inspired by faith, hope and love – is also hugely significant in the handing on of faith from generation to generation.

“When I attended the Youth Synod in Rome in 2018, Pope Francis surprised us by hosting an evening when young and older people who came together to learn from each other and at which he launched Sharing the Wisdom of Time.

“In the preface he says ‘the Lord wants me to say: that there should be an alliance between the young and old people’.

“The Pope explains that this cooperation entails sharing experiences of older people, heeding their advice and creating a strong bond with the new generations who are hungry for guidance and support as they prepare for their future. This spirit is exemplified in this year’s communications message:

‘In an age when falsification is increasingly sophisticated … we need wisdom to be able to welcome and create beautiful, true and good stories. We need courage to reject false and evil stories. We need patience and discernment to rediscover stories that help us not to lose the thread amid today’s many troubles. We need stories that reveal who we truly are, also in the untold heroism of everyday life.’

“Encouraged by Pope Francis, this weekend I invite grandparents and grandchildren to share their own stories – over the phone, on social media or video call – of how they are coping during this coronavirus crisis. Perhaps the young people could record and capture this moment for the future.

“In years to come, when we look back on 2020, we will be sharing  with future generations the story of how the world had to pause, to stand still. 

“Hopefully we will be able to relate the things that we learned from this pandemic experience. Perhaps we will speak of ‘2020 vision’ in a new way, that 2020 was the year we learned to appreciate more each other – our family, our elderly, our friendships, our front-line workers, our clergy – and all because we had to spend some time apart.

Archbishop Eamon concluded, “I strongly encourage everyone to read this year’s uplifting Communications Day message by Pope Francis, and to reflect on the power of ‘the story’ in our own journey, and on those around us, especially during this restricted period.

“As Pope Francis says,

‘The history of Christ is not a legacy from the past; it is our story, and always timely.  It shows us that God was so deeply concerned for mankind, for our flesh and our history, to the point that he became man, flesh and history.  It also tells us that no human stories are insignificant or paltry.’”

Full text of the Pope’s message for World Communications Day:

Francis calls for “courage, patience and discernment” to counter “evil” ‘fake news’


PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.