Inaugurating the two-day event, Most Rev Anil Couto, Archbishop of Delhi, spoke of the indispensability of the media in our evangelizing mission, for carrying out the command of the Lord to proclaim the good news to the ends of the earth in season and out of season. He said the committed leaders in this apostolate are the members of the Society of St Paul, carrying on the charism given them by Blessed James Alberione.
In his keynote address Monsignor Paul Tighe, Secretary, Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Vatican City, Rome, focused on the 50th anniversary of Inter Mirifica, its achievements as a document of Vatican II. According to him, "it is a heavily criticized document; at the same time it placed communications media on the agenda of the Church's mission".
Speaking on the advantages of the new media, Fr Jeffrey Mickler from Ohio, USA , a member of the Society of St Paul, said, "God's capacity to speak to the people has been changed with the development in media technology. And people's capacity to listen and understand has altered, too." He also spoke at length on the unique charism handed over t5o the Church by Blessed James Alberione, the founder of the Pauline family. Fr George Plathottam, SDB, representing the CBCI Office for Social communications, spoke extensively on the theme: 'Social Communications and Mission of the Church in India'.
Activists and media personnel such as Fr Raymond Ambroise, Secretary, FABC Office for Social Communications, Dr. John Dayal, Ms Esther Kar and Ms Anna Vetticad shared their insights on 'Church and Mainstream Media: Challenges and Possibilities'. All of them called for Church's active participation in the mainstream media activities despite the setbacks of the past and challenges ahead. Justice Kurien Jospeh, Honorable Judge of the Supreme Court of India called upon Church's media activists to identify and fight the evils existing in the society , making use of the present-day communication media..
Most Rev.Thomas Menamparampil, SDB, Archbishop Emeritus of the diocese of Guwahati, explained from his vast experience how the communication media can effectively be used for community building and peace initiatives. Fr Dominic Emmanuel, SVD, Spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Delhi highlighted the challenges and need for PR in Church. Enumerating some of the success stories of people who have used the media effectively, Fr Joe Eruppakkatt, SSP enlightened the audience on the importance of engaging the media for sharing the good news with the men and women of our country.
A special session of the seminar at the prestigious Teen Murti Bhavan was chaired by Mr Navin Chawla, the former Election Commissioner of India. According to him the election Commission of India plays a vital role as the third umpire to oversee the democratic processes in the country. Sociologist cum Educationist T. K. Oommen, award winning journalist Josy Joseph and entertainment journalist Anna MM Vetticad also threw light on 'India 2025: Democracy and Media'. Each of them spoke of the strengths and weaknesses of Indian democracy and the influence of the media.
During the concelebrated Mass on the first day of the Seminar to mark the two-fold occasion of the centenary of the foundation of the Pauline Family and the Golden Jubilee of the presence of the Society of St Paul in New Delhi , Most Rev. Salvatore Pennacchio, the Apostolic Nuncio to India, paid glowing tributes to the members of the Society of St Paul and the entire Pauline Family for their commendable work in the Church through the media apostolate.