Quebec City, June 19th, 2017. (SIGNIS/Tri Nguyen). More than 150 catholic communicators gathered this morning to launch the SIGNIS World Congress 2017. Pioneers of SIGNIS were honoured, as their ideas had a tremendous impact on the lives of different generations, religions, and nationalities and were filled with human values. Mr. Augustine Loorthusamy shared his thoughts about his colleague, Father Jerry, who has just left us, “[Jerry] always thinks about the others.” An example of life of sacrificing one’s own for the goods of other. “Jerry always knew how to create contact between people”, added Frank Frost.
The international delegates had the opportunity to look back at their own journey of engaging themselves into the promotion of a culture of peace, as they showcased the different cultures and regions of SIGNIS. The president of SIGNIS, Gustavo Andujar, said, during the opening ceremony that he was “sure that [the participants] will leave the Congress happy, but also satisfied, going back home with the joy of all the re-encounters and the new friendships, and the conviction that new horizons and new relationships are happening in [their] work as a communicator”.
The first Plenary session brought speakers from the USA and Canada to discuss about how educational institutions and NGO’s can promote stories of hope. David Mulroney, President and VC of St. Michael’s College, showed how the use of modern technology helped the institution to creatively engage with the students, and to rise up to human values. Norma Pimentel’s story of Hope is about how volunteers of a diocese on the American side of the Mexican border are taken care of hundreds of children of the illegal Mexican migrants who are looking for a better life but often don’t survive the deadly walk through the desert. John Zokovitch, from Pax Christi International, explained how a cross border platform of young journalists of peace was created. The young journalists are trained by the institution to write, shoot and broadcast stories of hope, and to become active citizen.
With these stories, the audience was full of enthusiasm for the rest of the activities!
Pictures by Samuel Tessier