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"Communicating the Gospel with the Heart in the Digital World" was the central theme of the SIGNIS Asia Assembly 2023 (SAA2023), drawing inspiration from the 57th World Communications Day message of Pope Francis "Speaking with the heart: 'The truth in love'". This theme beautifully paraphrases the verses from Ephesians 4:15, "Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ."
Held from the 23rd to the 27th of October, the SIGNIS Asia Assembly 2023 was a transformative event. Over 70 members of SIGNIS Asia participants registered from 12 diverse countries, including the Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, India, Timor Leste, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Vietnam, gathered to explore the 2023 assembly's overarching theme.
Throughout the event, attendees had the privilege of listening to insightful presentations, sharing their experiences and innovative ideas around the topic. These presentations and discussions underscored the immense significance of "speaking with the heart in the digital world" emphasizing the need for dynamic dialogues in an era where communication technologies and artificial intelligence play pivotal roles. Some of the conversations revolved around “Applying the Theme of Communicating With The Heart in The Digital World”, “Communicating Mission with The Heart”, Communicating the Gospel and Cyber Realities”, “Communicating the Gospel with the Heart in The Digital World: In The Perspectives of the Youths, Women, and Lay Professionals”.
In recent years, Pope Francis has consistently encouraged us to reflect on the verbs "to go and see" and "to listen", recognizing these as fundamental prerequisites for effective communication. This emphasis on active listening and attentive observation has paved the way for the theme of "Speaking with the Heart." Pope Francis articulates, "It is the heart that urges us to go, to see, and to listen, and it is the heart that guides us towards an open and welcoming way of communicating."
The Pope further elaborates that after we have honed our skills in listening, which necessitates patience, waiting, and a willingness to put aside our preconceived notions, we can then engage in the dynamics of dialogue and sharing. This, he contends, is the true essence of communicating with the heart.
SIGNIS Asia has a rich tradition of reflecting on the World Communications Day messages delivered by the Holy Father at the Asian level. The insights and inspirations from these reflections naturally flow into the national assemblies of member countries. The logo of SAA2023 encapsulates this theme masterfully, featuring heart-shaped chat symbols that vividly symbolize heartfelt communication.
In an era marked by digital advancements and an ever-evolving technological landscape, the significance of communicating the Gospel with the heart has never been more pronounced. The 2023 SIGNIS Asia Assembly has served as a platform for diverse cultures and nations to come together, share their wisdom, and explore ways to convey the message of love and truth in this digital age.
As we reflect on the assembly's profound discussions and Pope Francis's timeless message, we are reminded of the timeless truth that communication is not just about words but about the heart – a heart that listens, understands, and reaches out in love. With the guidance of these principles, SIGNIS Asia continues to be a beacon of hope and inspiration in the digital world.