by MICHAEL OTTO
Cardinal John Dew says Catholic journalists, editors and communicators can help make connections with people who
have been distanced from the Church.
The cardinal sent a video message to the Australasian Catholic Press Association Conference in Broome, Western Australia, held from September 9-11.
The conference theme was “My Family, My Church: Growing our Community”.
This year marked the 60th anniversary of the founding of ACPA.
In his message, Cardinal Dew noted that Pope Francis has been saying that what the Church needs most today is the
ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful.
“This means that the Church needs to be close to people,” Cardinal Dew said. “It means, as he says, that the Church is to be seen as a field hospital, where the wounded can come and be cared for.”
Referring to those at the conference, Cardinal Dew said: “Although each of us has our part to play in making the
Church a place for the wounded, you, as communicators, have a particular role in connecting people who have perhaps
been hurt by the Church herself, wounded by the Church and may have become distant from us, but who may draw close
once again if they see there is something worth returning to, something lifegiving.
“You are able to be the voice that reaches out to others who are looking for signs of hope, healing and nurturing.
“You have the ability to connect through word, images and messages in a way that may lead to a more personal
“I believe that your challenge is to see that each and every word, image and message is reflective of the need to touch someone’s heart; not a presentation of something that is unattainable, but instead a sign of the encounter we are all invited to with the overwhelmingly attractive person of Jesus. “
Cardinal Dew encouraged those at the conference to “look for ways to affirm and encourage each other in the work that you do as Catholic journalists”.
“Think creatively about how your work, in the name of the Church, can reach out to those who feel distant, or
excluded, and how your work as communicators can warm their hearts and draw them into an encounter with Jesus
who gives us life.”
Other speakers to send video messages congratulating ACPA on its 60 year milestone were Msgr Paul Tighe (secretary
of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications) and Bishop Christopher Coyne (chairman of the Committee
on Communications for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops).
Bishop Christopher Saunders of Broome and Bishop Peter Comensoli of Broken Bay spoke at the ACPA conference.