Rome, April, 19th, 2017 (UCAN). Last week, Pope Francis appointed 13 new Consulters for the Vatican's Secretariat for Communications. Father Peter Gonsalves of Mumbai Salesian Province and a member of SIGNIS, is among them.

“I feel a sense of being inadequate for the task; yet a readiness to share what I have learned (and I’m still learning) about being a globally compassionate Church in our complex and confusing digital age,” said Father Gonsalves.

He is currently the dean of the Faculty of Social Communication Sciences (FSC) at Universita Pontificia Salesiana (UPS) Rome. Father Gonsalves is the first non-European to hold the post of dean in FSC, which was established in 1988. 

Fr Gonsalves is a communication research analyst of Mahatma Gandhi’s sartorial/nonverbal communication. He is the author of three books on Gandhiji - Clothing for Liberation: A Communication Analysis of Gandhi’s Swadeshi Revolution, Khadi: Gandhi’s Mega Symbol of Subversion, and Gandhi and the Popes. His last book, published in 2015, investigates how Mahatma Gandhi - whether in his lifetime or posthumously - was respected, appreciated and imitated by the Popes from Pius XI to Francis. In the process, he “explores and assesses the popular claim that Gandhi was influenced by Christ, and the not so popular conjecture that Pope Francis was influenced by Gandhi.” 

Born in Mumbai, India in 1958, Fr Gonsalves became a Salesian in ‎‎1977 and was ordained priest on December 19, 1987. He started teaching in 1981 in India, where he founded the Don Bosco Creativity Workshops in ‎Mumbai. He was the National Coordinator for Social Communications from 1993 to 1999.‎ 

In 1992, he founded in Pune Tej-Prasarini, a multimedia production center to raise awareness of the urgency of life-based education in vernacular Marathi language of Maharashtra state. Later in 1994, Tej-Prasarini was shifted to Mumbai, where it has become a flourishing media house of Salesians in South Asia. 

He promoted a series of teacher-training manuals called ‘Quality Life Education’, the first of which was his own work: Exercises in Media Education (1994). Using this, he conducted around 40 all-India courses on media education for schoolteachers, social workers and youth facilitators form diverse ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds. 

Dr Gonsalves was in Italy from ‎‎2002 to 2006 as a coordinator of the first five-language web portal of the Salesians at its headquarters in Rome. From 2005 to 2009, he was president of INTERSIG, the international wing of SIGNIS, a world association of communicators for a culture of peace. He ‎began teaching at the UPS in 2008, was co-opted as a lecturer that same year and promoted to ‎extraordinary professor in 2013.‎

The other consulters are

- Rev. Fr. Ivan Maffeis, under-secretary for the Italian Episcopal Conference;

- Fr. José María La Porte, dean of the Faculty of Institutional Social Communication of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross;

- Fr. Eric Salobir, O.P., Promoter General for social communications for the Order of Preachers;

- Fr. James Martin, S.J., Jesuit Magazine America;

- Fr. Jacquineau Azétsop, S.J., dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Pontifical Gregorian University;

- Dr. Paolo Peverini, lecturer in Semiotics at the LUISS “Guido Carli”;

- Dr. Fernando Giménez Barriocanal, president and delegator advisor of Radio Popolar Cadena COPE;

- Dr. Ann Carter, Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications;

- Mr. Graham Ellis, deputy director of BBC Radio;

- Dr. Michael P. Warsaw, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of EWTN Global Catholic Network;

- Dr. Dino Cataldo Dell'Accio, Chief ICT Auditor at the United Nations;

- Dr. Michael Paul Unland, executive director of the Catholic Media Council (CA.ME.CO.).