ROME – Pope Francis has conferred the title of Knight of St Sylvester on a Malaysian Catholic for his contributions to social communication.
Mr Augustine Loorthusamy, the outgoing president of Signis (World Catholic Association for Communication), is believed to be the first Malaysian to receive this award from the pope.
Archbishop Claudio Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, who bestowed the knighthood on behalf of the pope on Feb 27, said it was a “gesture of appreciation”.
“The Holy Father is bestowing such a recognition on people in order to appreciate their works for the good of the people and the Church,” said Archbishop Celli, after awarding Sir Loorthusamy at the closing ceremony of the Signis World Congress 2014 in Rome.
He said it is good that the Holy Father is giving the honour for Sir Loorthusamy’s dedication and leadership of Signis, which has members in more than 100 countries worldwide.
“This is a gesture to show the benevolence of the Holy Father, to say how much he appreciates what he has done for Signis.
“The service of Signis in the field of social communication, radio, press, cinema and media production has played a major role in people’s lives; I am talking about digital technology as well,” the archbishop said.
Sir Loorthusamy also expressed his gratitude to Pope Francis for recognising the works and contributions of Signis in the development of communications.
Sir Loorthusamy, who served two terms from 2005 as Signis president, is a parishioner of Kristus Aman Chapel in Kuala Lumpur.
By Canute Januarius