Rome, February 28, 2014 (SIGNIS) - The SIGNIS World Congress 2014 concluded this Thursday night with a Mass and a closing ceremony, highlighting values that must orient the work of Catholic communicators. The participants were invited to distinguish their action by values such as solidarity, concern and friendship.

During his homily, taking the Pope Francis' message for the 48th World Communications Day as reference, Mons. Claudio Maria Celli, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, said that probably “the most important challenge faced by Catholic communicators is to get closer to men and women of our time, as the Good Samaritan did”. He recalled the words of the Holy Father to emphasize that “communicating means already getting closer to those who are different from ourselves” and that it must imply a sincere concern for their condition.

In his farewell speech as President of SIGNIS, Augustine Loorthusamy highlighted the idea of the “culture of encounter”, that was present in the Congress in many conferences and workshops. For him, SIGNIS must be a space of friendship among communicators all over the world. “We need to count on each other as a network for sharing experiences and assisting each other in situations of doubt, trouble and challenges”, he said.

Loorthusamy was invested as a Knight of the Order of Saint Sylvester during the closing ceremony of the Congress, for his contributions to Catholic communications as the President of SIGNIS and member of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. With a long experience in Catholic communications in Asia and Pacific regions, he was first elected in 2005, in the World Congress hold in Lyon, France, and re-elected by delegates who gathered in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in 2009.

Outstanding Communicators and Young People Awarded

Fr Gaston Roberge SJ, pioneer of film and media education in India, and Mgr Roland Abou Jaoude, founder of the Catholic Information Centre in Lebanon, received SIGNIS Life Achievement Awards during the closing ceremony of the SIGNIS World Congress 2014. The SIGNIS Life Achievement Awards recognize SIGNIS members who have made outstanding contributions in the field of Catholic communication.

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The awards of the SIGNIS Radio, Photo and Video Competitions 2013 were also announced during the closing ceremony. The winners showcased the creativity of all the generations in expressing their hope for peace. Many of the awarded experiences were developed by young people, like Franciscus Borgia Edgar, 23, of Indonesia, with his short film “My Fast”. Edgar is also one the VJs participating in the Congress. In the Photo Competition, the jury chose a photo by Dennis Varghese, 23, from the US. And in the Radio Competition, Diego Alejandro Martinez, only 16, from Guatemala won first prize with a short radio production entitled “Quiero la Paz del Mundo”.

The list of the awards is available at