Family members from different generations attend an encounter and Mass for the elderly led by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican in this Sept. 28, 2014, file photo. The pope will highlight the role of memory and storytelling across generations in his message for World Communications Day 2020. CNS photo/Paul Haring

Pope Francis announces theme for World Communication Day 2020

By  Paige Hanley, Catholic News Service
  • September 30, 2019

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis will highlight the important role of memory and storytelling across generations as a way to bring people together in a world marked by discord and division, the Vatican said.

The pope believes that memory -- far from being a static, inflexible recollection of the past -- has dynamic and transformative power that can influence and foster unity, a Vatican press release said Sept. 29 when it announced the theme of World Communication Day 2020.

The Vatican and many dioceses mark World Communication Day on the Sunday before Pentecost; in 2020 that will be May 24. The Vatican publishes the full message Jan. 24, the feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of journalists.

For next year's message, the pope chose the theme, "So that you can tell your children and grandchildren. Life creates history."

The passage, based on the Book of Exodus, highlights the importance of sharing meaningful memories, stories and experiences, so that they may live on and transform the present, the Vatican statement said.

The theme "reminds us that every story is born out of life, from interacting with others," it said.

Stories are valuable resources which offer "great riches" to their listeners, it said. The insight, knowledge and human connection fostered through effective storytelling is an invaluable asset to the audience.

"Communications is, therefore, called to connect memory with life through stories," it said, explaining how Jesus used parables to convey "the vital power of the Kingdom of God, leaving his audience free to welcome these narratives and apply them to themselves."

"These stories are not only alive in the past but continue to guide the lives and beliefs of Catholics today," it said, adding, "The ability to generate change expresses how powerful a story is."

The Vatican announcement said the message will call for ongoing dialogue with each other and with the past and will ask everyone to make communications be "an instrument to build bridges, to unite and to share the beauty of being brothers and sisters in a moment of history marked by discord and division."

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