PCO VIII moves on. The participates continue to listen. The themes broaden. On the third day (Wednesday) the themes proposed by the speakers were – a report by Dr. Mary E. Hess on Social Media, and the New Evangelization by Archishop Rino Fisichella.
Summary of the conference of Mary Hess: The explosion of digital social media in the last 30 years has changed the way people relate to each other, how they know, and how they view authority. The prevalence of social media undoubtedly creates new challenges for us, but it also creates new opportunities. Authority today is no longer based on based on one's role, but on the authenticity of one's message. The fact, for instance, that Pope Francis is viewed as an authority by even some non-Catholics is not because he is the Bishop of Rome, but because he models the things he teaches. The Franciscan charism of fraternity gives us both a unique understanding of community and a basis providing the sense of community that especially young people are searching for today. We have resources that can and should be shared with the world.
Archbishop Rino Fisichella in his talk recalled to us the primacy of the grace of our work-vocation, which is: to serve with an evangelical realism on the level of the salvation that God wishes to work in our time; marked by great changes. The New Evangelization demands above all a pastoral conversion that must always inspire us with the joy of a first meeting with Jesus, in order to be able to construct strong communities in mission. The Jubilee Year of Mercy—mercy being the revolutionary strength of the gospel—will be a decisive step in this pastoral conversion.
Presenting Mary E. Hess, Phd
Dr. Mary Elizabeth Hess earned a doctoral degree from Boston College in 1998. The title of her doctoral dissertation was Media Literacy in Religious Education: Engaging Popular Culture to Enhance Religious Experience.
She has written or co-authored four books focusing on the topic on the impact of media and technology on religious education, and she has contributed to many other books and journals on the subject.
Currently, she is the Professor of Educational Leadership at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, as well as serving on many editorial boards in the field of mass media.
Dr. Hess's connection with the Capuchins dates back to around 2012, when she spoke to the Formation Council of the North American-Pacific Capuchin Conference (NAPCC) about social media and its impact on vocation promotion and religious formation today. Her presentation helped us to understand better how young people today think about relationships, and it has affected the way we approach the use of social media and modern means of communication in the formation programs in North America today.
We are very happy, therefore, that Dr. Hess accepted our invitation to speak to us today about the impact of social media in our world today, especially among the young, and how it affects our work.
Presenting Most Rev. Rino Fisichella
Archbishop Fisichella was born in Codogno, Italy, in 1951 and was ordained priest for the diocese of Rome in 1976. Until 2010 he was professor of fundamental theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University, and since 1994 the rector of the church of St. Gregory of Nazianzus. He was ordained as auxiliary bishop of Rome on September 12, 1998 and put in charge of the southern sector of the diocese of Rome. He was appointed Magnificent Rector of the Pontifical Lateran University on January 18, 2002, a charge he continued to maintain until June 3, 2010. From June 17, 2008 to June 30, 2010 he was president of the Pontifical Academy for Life. With this appointment Pope Benedict XVI raised him to the dignity of archbishop. He has been secretary of the Episcopal Commission for the Doctrine of the Faith, Proclamation, and Catechesis of the Italian Bishops' Conference, and member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Congregation of the Causes of Saints, the Pontifical Council for Culture, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses. On June 30, 2010 he was appointed President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization.