Patroness of the Americas: a Great Communicator

Archbishop Offers Example of Our Lady of Guadalupe

By Miriam Díez i Bosch

ROME, DEC. 12, 2007 ( Our Lady of Guadalupe is a model for communicators because she adapted herself to her listeners, says the president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications

Archbishop Claudio Celli addressed a message to communicators of America in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe’s feast today. He proposed Our Lady, proclaimed patroness of the Americas by Pope John Paul II in 1999, as the model of communication. The archbishop especially urged communicators to adapt themselves, as Mary did, to the mentality of their listeners.

“Let us be docile like Mary of Guadalupe, whom John Paul II described as a model of evangelization perfectly adapted to culture,” Archbishop Celli said. “She adapted herself to the mentality of her listener, to his culture, to his rhythm.”

The Italian archbishop emphasized how “her message is not merely made of words. It is the gesture, the way, the image, the language, the dialect. It is a loving communication, full of acceptance of the other’s world, at the same time bringing about a dynamic effect that changes the listener forever.”

Continent of hope

Archbishop Celli spoke about communication in Advent, the time of hope. He said the term “continent of hope,” now popularly used to refer to the Americas, has been enlightened by the encyclical “Spe Salvi.” The Pontiff’s latest encyclical, he said, is “a new gift with which Benedict XVI nourishes our Christian conscience.”

The archbishop affirmed that communication requires a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. He noted that the general conference of Latin American bishops held last May in Aparecida, Brazil, emphasized the need for this encounter.

“The first step on the path pointed out by the bishops is a personal encounter with the Lord Jesus, an experience of deep friendship with him, without which Christian life simply does not exist,” the Vatican official said. “This invitation appeals in a special way to communicators and ‘weavers of networks,’ in order to insert Christ’s face in the spaces of daily life in society.”

“May we think about how we can, in our specific fields of action, favor readers, audiences, viewers, users […] that they may encounter Jesus Christ in what we are communicating,” he urged. “If we succeed in making our listeners and recipients find the Lord in our communication efforts, we can be confident that he will make the effort bear fruit.”

In this time of Advent, the archbishop encouraged communicators to “be like those angels who were sent to announce to the shepherds great joy, the greatest event in history.”

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