On World Communications Day

«Media Professionals Called to Be Agents of Peace,» Says Pope

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 1, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of John Paul II’s address today to the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square before the praying of the Regina Caeli at midday.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters!

1. This Sunday, the solemnity of the Lord’s Ascension is being celebrated in many countries. Forty days after Easter — we read in the Gospel — Jesus led the Apostles «out as far as Bethany and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven» (Luke 24:50-51). The ascension is the final moment of Christ’s «Pasch,» which John the Evangelist describes, precisely, as a passage «out of this world to the Father» (John 13:1).

He wishes to lead the whole of humanity to the one heavenly Father. «I will go and prepare a place for you,» he told his disciples during the Last Supper, «… so that where I am you may be also» (John 14:3). May today’s feast awaken in our hearts the desire for heaven, our eternal homeland.

2. Today, moreover, is the World Communications Day, whose theme is «The Means of Social Communication at the Service of Authentic Peace, in the Light of ‘Pacem in Terris.'»

Forty years after the publication of the historic encyclical of Blessed Pope John XXIII, it is all the more important to reflect on the role of the mass media in the construction of a peaceful world, founded on truth, justice, love and liberty. Indeed, may the means of social communication make a valid contribution to peace, pulling down the barriers of mistrust, encouraging understanding and mutual respect, and, in addition, fostering reconciliation and mercy. It is, therefore, in virtue of their vocation and of their profession that mass media professionals are also called to be agents of peace.

3. May Mary Most Holy, Star of Evangelization, protect and assist all those who work in the field of social communication, especially at the service of the Gospel and the Church. Likewise, may Mary, Queen of Heaven, help all of us to live with our gaze constantly turned to Christ, who today ascends triumphant into the glory of Paradise.

«Regina Caeli …»

[Translation by ZENIT]

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