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The 26th St. Francis de Sales Days took place in Lourdes, France, gathering Catholic communicators from around the world in a conference organized by the Fedération des Médias Catholiques, SIGNIS, the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication, and the Italian Union of Catholic Press.
During the conference, Helen Osman, president of SIGNIS was invited to give an opening speech to the hundreds of attendees. Helen shares that as participants gathered in Lourdes, “our church moves through a synod on synodality. For the first time in our history, the institutional church is making a concerted effort to listen to the Holy Spirit, as it speaks through the voices of ordinary people, Catholics and others”.
Remembering the remarkable and touching work and legacy of Saint Francis Sales, patron saint of journalists, Helen shares that “his approach to communicating with people where they are, respecting who they are and who God is calling them to be, can serve us, too, as we consider how to bring the Good News to a world rapidly changing, with so many challenges”. For Helen, Catholic communicators care called, “like Francis de Sales, to be impressed and intrigued by the great issues emerging in the world, by the novel ways in which they are being approached, by the new and remarkable interest in spirituality and the unprecedented questions raised’ in our times”.
But to bring his work to modern days, Ms. Osman affirms that “we can’t just marvel and click on one Instagram post after another. St. Francis de Sales was more than just intrigued and impressed. He spent time walking the streets, sitting at tables with people, listening, and learning. Then, he began to communicate”.