No human story is insignificant to God

Patricia Ang

Amid the cacophony of voices and messages that surround us, Pope Francis has identified story telling as the theme for this year’s 54th World Communications Day that was celebrated on May 24.

Human stories can represent us and the beauty all around us. “Stories help us to understand and communicate who we are. Human beings are storytellers because we are engaged in a process of constant growth, discovering ourselves and becoming enriched in the tapestry of the days of our life,” said Pope Francis.

Pope Francis reminded us that “the bible is the great love story between God and humanity” and that “no human story is insignificant to God”. He also pointed to the Scriptures and the stories of the saints as examples of text that have shed light on the human heart and its beauty, and “reviving our memory of what we are in God’s eyes”.

In line with World Communications Day, the Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore hosted a webinar for communications practitioners on May 23 based on the theme of storytelling. This was followed by a series of breakout sessions for participants on Photography, Videography, Design Ideation, Writing and Podcast.

During the webinar, the keynote speaker, Archbishop Marek Zalewski, the Apostolic Nuncio to Singapore, shared that communications is the ability to connect memory with life through stories. Said Archbishop Marek, “Stories influence our lives by shaping our conviction and our behaviour. Mass media and communications must always be positive.” He also mentioned that the social media is a channel to promote “the beauty of life, hope, moral values, peace, truth and respect.”

A good story added Archbishop Marek is one that can transcend the confines of space and time. Stories can also help to reveal who we truly are.

On the other hand, the Nuncio also cautioned on communications being used for exploitation. There are communication platforms that feature destructive and provocative stories that wear down and break the fragile threads binding us together as a society. In this regard, he stressed that there should be zero tolerance to false, offending human dignity and destructive stories.

At the webinar, Fr Terence Kesavan also touched on the importance of storytelling which allows us to communicate our message to the people with whom we interact with. He encouraged everyone to tell their stories in a manner that enables others to be able to relate to them.

Inspirational stories connect people and allow us to have a better understanding of each other. Fr Kesavan said through the parables, Jesus used stories to teach us about the Kingdom of God, enabling us to better understand the profound mysteries in the bible.

For one of the webinar participants Ms Cheryl Tan, she found the webinar to be “very inspiring and a timely theme given the amount of distractions in the media landscape”. She added that “stories help to cut through the noise and allow us to focus our attention”. She also found the webinar to be a good reminder of how sharing stories in a genuine way can help us to reach to those beyond our own catholic communities”.

In his homily on World Communications Day, Archbishop William Goh highlighted that although the tools of communication are important, we must also mindful of the intention and content of what we are communicating. In order to be communicators of the Good News, we need to inform with sincerity, to form others to be life givers and to edify God through our lives.

At the heart of it all, stories are a form of evangelisation. By actively sharing our stories of faith, we are bringing the Good News of Jesus into every human situation and seeking to convert individuals and society by the divine power of the Gospel itself.