Goa hosts SIGNIS India National Assembly

By Sr Molly Fernandes SFN

Old Goa, Dec 11: The Catholic Communicators of SIGNIS India participated in the SIGNIS India National Assembly (SINA) 2023, at St Joseph Vaz Spiritual Centre (SJVSC), at Old Goa, held from December 6-9.The assemblage centered on the theme, Speaking with the Heart 'The Truth in Love'.

On December 6 SINA had the meeting of the Governing Body members led by the SIGNIS India National president Fr Victor Vijay Lobo.

The inaugural Mass was presided over by Bishop Archbishop Patriarch Felipe Neri Cardinal Ferrao, together with Dr Henry DSousa, bishop of Bellary, the SIGNIS Asia president Fr Stanley, SIGNIS India National president Fr Victor Lobo, western region president Fr Olavo Caiado, SIGNIS national secretary Fr David and many priests, in the presence of religious sisters and the laity, on Decemebr 7 morning.

Cardinal Ferrao urged the Catholic communicators quoting the example of St Mother Teresa’s humble beginnings and cited the example of the business man who once hated her turned out to be a great staunch benefactor just because of her humility and attitude while she spoke with the heart with compassion inspite of him being so rude and ruthless and boiling with anger.

Walk in the manner of the vocation you are called to walk, urged Cardinal Ferrao, the delegates of SINA 2023.

Cardinal Ferrao encouraged the delegates, to follow Jesus the communicator par excellence citing two examples from the bible: His dialogue with the woman at the well and Zacheus the Tax collector. How Jesus communicated to them with the heart the truth in love. Which resulted in transforming the lives of the two. For He spoke from the heart rather than the intellect.

"Therefore, we must approach the communication ministry with a compassionate heart as it pertains to the Gospel," the cardinal said.

SIGNIS honoured excellent communicators. Shesan Ouseph, director of ‘Face of the Faceless’, Sandra, producer, and Bishop Dr Henry D’Souza, former SIGNIS India president.

Cardinal Ferrao challenged in his inaugural address to render services as communicators using the modern technology by being the Moon as St Joseph Vaz did. Drawing strength from Jesus, the communicator par excellence. As Catholic communicators to accept the role to be digital missionaries to communicate the truth in Love for without the knowledge one cannot function, he said. 

SIGNIS Asia president Fr Stany Kozhichira, welcomed the attendees to engage in their communication activities and urged them to be enthusiastic about the new era during his keynote address.

The speaker, Alexandre M Barbosa (writer, editor, journalist), enlightened the delegates how fake news could be countered with genuine and truthful information as Catholic communicators, as he explored the topic on 'Truth will set you free'.

Dr Aisha Fernandes (associate professor at Goa Engineering College), elaborated on 'Challenges and Prospects of Proclamation of the Word in the Digital World', directed the communicators to talk to the people, the youth in the language they understand.

Bishop of Bellary Dr Henry D'Souza, spoke at length on the topic: implanting Communication as an Instrument of Truth, to foster Unity and Dialogue urging the communicators to communicate with brains in the mind, compassion in the eyes, Joy on the Face, truth on the lips, Love in the heart, service in the limbs and relationship/unity in the hands.

Communication with the Heart begins in the mother’s womb said Rev. Fr. Henry Falcao (The Director of SJVSC), delivered on the Topic: Communicating with the Heart of the Apostle. That all mysteries of Salvation are communicating with the heart.

Fr Falcao, stressed as he truly spoke from the heart in all gentleness, that speaking with the heart in not spontaneous but need to put in efforts due to prejudices, insecurities, fears, etc.

Apostle is the One who is sent with the heart of the spirit, Falcao enlightened and further emphasised to be aware of ‘the danger of the digital age to numb the human heart and make us robots. To balance the heart and head and as communicators ‘be on guard’ as our words are measured.

SIGNIS honoured all the speakers while the hosts, the western region, honoured all the presidents of the different regions and the SIGNIS India president and the office bearers with a memento.

SIGNIS is an association of Catholic communicators across the world. SIGNIS WORLD was created in November 2001 in Rome for the merger of two international Catholic Organizations. They are Unda, meaning ‘wave’ in Latin, for Radio and Television, and OCIC, an acronym for ‘Organization Catholique International du Cinema et de l’ Audio-visual, meaning International Catholic Organization for Cinema and Audio-visual’.

The word ‘SIGNIS’ is derived from two Latin words: ‘Signum’ (meaning sign) and ‘Ignis’ (meaning fire).

SIGNIS combines the heritages of both Unda and OCIC and, at the same time, moves forward as a creative and dynamic Catholic International Media Organization.

The Assembly ended on December 9 with the formulation of the Statement SINA 2023 with new plans and renewed vision to work with passion in the spirit of the Apostle as being sent to communicate with the heart the truth in love.




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