Dicastery for Communication Logo

Faith Communication in the Digital World

The program, sponsored by the Dicastery for Communication, sought to address the challenge of how the Church can and should be present online to adequately respond  to people’s spiritual needs, especially given the COVID-19 crisis. Our group of 16 young communicators from Cambodia, Canada, Costa Rica, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States embarked upon a new and exciting journey over the next year together.

Tourists to Pilgrims

We began as strangers when we embarked on this journey together. Follow along to see what we discovered and how we grew as a community of young communicators.

February 20, 2021
The Faith Communication in the Digital World program officially begins! We had our first meeting with the entire group from around the world. The prefect for the Dicastery for Communication, Paulo Ruffini, gave the inaugural address which focused on how we can transform the digital world by making it less technical and more human.
An image of a Zoom video call of the participants from the Faith Communication program
February 27, 2021
We watched the film “The Social Dilemma” and discussed the ideas and themes presented in the Netflix documentary. We wrestled with the challenge of the impact social media has on our attention, how it affects our daily choices, and what kind of role the Church can and should play when occupying these digital spaces.
The social dilemma movie poster
March - May 2021
Over the next several weeks, our focus turned to formation to learn principle foundations for communications and marketing, theological perspectives on sharing the Gospel in the 21st century, how to tell human-centered stories, thinking like artists and creatives, and more. We heard from renowned speakers and lecturers such Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Professor Heidi Campbell, Archbishop Gintaras Grušas, Fr. Paolo Benanti, Professor Brett Robinson, Dr. Anna Neumaier, and many more.
Zoom screenshot of participants from the faith communication program.
Headshot of Cardinal Luis Tagle

"To communicate the faith I must use my heart, not simply a few memorized quotes or lines."

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples

Kike Delgado touches the foot of the Pieta statue
Headshot of Juan Narbona

"Why do we need stories? They give us meaning, which is the driving force behind everyone's life."

Juan Narbona, Ph.D., Social Communications at Pontifical University of the Holy Cross

A art board of two pieces of mosaic artwork.
Headshot of Brett Robinson

"We need to think like artists and live like saints."

Brett Robinson, Ph.D., McGrath Institute for Church Life, University of Notre Dame

May 23, 2021
Communio et Progressio

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Papal Encyclical, Communio et Progressio, we created a video highlighting its relevance and impact on communications in the modern world and in the Church.

“In the Christian faith, the unity and brotherhood of man are the chief aims of all communication and these find their source and model in the central mystery of the eternal communion between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit who live a single divine life.”

Communio et Progressio 8

Pope Paul VI sitting a desk and reading
June 7-14, 2021
Residential Week
📍 rome, italy

The first part of our journey took us to the Vatican Museums, where we experienced the history of many pieces of beautiful art and sculptures, as well as the theological meaning behind them. Many of them represented early Christians attempts to evangelize the culture around them in creative ways. We also explored the evolution of technology first-hand that was used by Vatican Radio. Regardless of the equipment at their disposal, the Vatican always tried to be current with latest technological advancement to reach the most amount of people around the world.

A sculpture of the Good Shepherd on the left and a statue of the Goddess Venus on the right
From right: Sculpture of the Good Shepherd and the Goddess Venus
General Audience

We had the blessing of a lifetime when we met Pope Francis during his General Audience. We spoke with him for a few minutes about our visit to Rome and he asked us to pray him in a special way.

Participants from the program meet Pope Francis with big smiles on their faces
Pope Francis greets pilgrims from the program
Participants from the program meet Pope Francis with big smiles on their faces
Papal Basilicas

The main part of our time in the Eternal City focused on visiting the four Papal Basilicas in Rome: St. Peter’s, St. Mary Major, St. John Lateran, and St. Paul Outside the Walls. We were warmly welcomed when we visited each one of them, and our guides shared the historical, theological, and artistic significance of each with great care and devotion.

A collage of photos of the four papal basilicas with participants praying and looking up at the architecture
The Pieta
Dabin Jung looks up at a piece of artwork
An icon of Christ in the Basilica of St. Paul
Pascal Norbert looks up at the Sistine Chapel ceiling
A painting of the Blessed Mother
Marybel Mayorga takes a photo of a piece of art inside the Basilica of St. Peter
The art of the covenant covered in gold

Leading up to our trip, our group was split up to work on four unique projects for various offices in the Vatican. Each group had the opportunity to present their research and proposed communication strategies to members from the Dicastery for Communication, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, and the Vatican Apostolic Library.

Vatican Apostolic Library group presentation
Congregation for the Causes of Saints group photo
Integral Human Development group photo
Dicastery for Communication group photo and presentation
July - August 2021
Our return to virtual meetings over the summer months gave us the opportunity to reflect and ponder the ways we saw God working during the residential week and how we might share that online. We shared what we learned, the memories we made together, and how we grew in our faith as individuals and as a community.
An artist works on a mosaic surround by tools and pieces of art
September - October 2021
Basilica Website Project
We were divided into groups based on our skillsets to develop a website for the four major basilicas. Our goal for the website was to tell a compelling story rather than communicate only facts or statistics. In order to respond to this immense challenge, we worked collaboratively and listened to each members’ contributions and ideas to foster a healthy dialogue within our group. Our desire was to "journey together" and allow the talents of all group members to flourish. We presented the proposal for the web page to the Steering Committee in late October.

Vision Statement

To prepare active Catholics to have a personal and authentic encounter with the four papal basilicas that allows the universal and local Church to engage in the experience of moving from tourist to pilgrim.

Illustrated icons of saints Peter, Paul, and others
Sample posts of the basilicas website for social media and web
A preview of the basilicas website on a desktop screen and a mobile phone
Lessons Learned

Throughout the entire project, the practice of listening, dialogue, and discernment guided the efforts of our group. This challenged us to continually evaluate our vision and dreams for this webpage against our workload and capacity to complete the project within our presentation deadline. In our final reflections about the working process, members of our group expressed their view that “the most important part of this type of project is not the final product but rather the journey and the relations.”

November 2021
- January 2022
Final Steps
During the last phase of the program, we reflected on our personal and collective experiences and discerned where we felt the Lord calling us. Using the themes from the Synod on Synodality, each of us dug into resources and research relevant to our own local communities. These ranged from technical documents to strategic approaches on digital communications from all across the globe, and they formed the foundation for a social media guidelines document. The goal of the document is to build a communication strategy that shows the best practices of discernment and engagement from pastoral and professional spaces. It would serve as a tool that encompasses the characteristics and attitudes of a creative, engaging, and professional pastoral instrument.

Made with Padlet
Two posts on the synod on synodality previewed on a phone that has the Instagram app open
Looking to the future
We are all extremely grateful and humbled by this incredible opportunity to hone our skills in digital communication, build meaningful relationships with friends from around the globe, and bring the Gospel to the digital world.

Our Leaders

This program would not have been possible without the incredible sacrifice, dedication, innovation, and leadership of these three ladies.

Nataša Govekar
Theological-Pastoral Director
Silvia Grechi
Silvia Grechi
Project Manager
Elisa Angelici
Elisa Angelici
Communication Strategist

Our Group

See who we are and where we are from!

Alexandra Carroll
Alexandra Carroll
United States
Alex Rich
Alexandria Rich
United States
Chiara Armenti
Chiara Armenti
Dabin Jung
Dabin Jung
South Korea
David Selva
David Selva
Costa Rica
John Byrd
John Byrd
John Grosso
John Grosso
United States
John Lilly
John Lilly
United States
Juan Carlos Yto
Juan Carlos Yto
Kagna Keo
Kagna Keo
Kike Delgado
Kike Delgado
Marybel Mayorga
Marybel Mayorga
Nikke Ramos
Nikke Ramos
Naomi Roberts
Naomi Roberts
United Kingdom
Pascal Norbert
Pascal Norbert
Vanessa Zuleta Goldberg
Vanesa Zuleta Goldberg
United States