"Faith Communication in the Digital World" is the name of a course developed by the Dicastery for Communication and offered to a group of 16 young people from all over the world who are working in the Church. The aim of the course is to enhance their skills while deepening their faith. Marybel came from Canada to be one of the participants, and she shared her testimony with us.
By Vatican News - In-house translation
More than four months went by before the young participants in this project could finally meet. Since June 7, they have been in Rome for their first week of an intensive training program focusing on self-knowledge, creativity and the transmission of faith using digital media.
Their course, which will last a year, commenced on February 7 and had until this point consisted of weekly Zoom meetings, and they will resume after the sojourn in Rome. A second visit to the Eternal City may also take place in November or December, health regulations permitting.
The ultimate goal of this pilot project is to develop "best practices," to strengthen these young communications professionals and improve their capacity to meet the challenges of the missions they serve in their respective Catholic organizations and institutions, ecclesiastical provinces and congregations.
But while the topic of the course is of the here and now, the program is also grounded in the past, which has its own inspiration to offer. Participants are invited to take a closer look at the works of art that are housed in the four Roman basilicas, in order to appreciate what lessons the artists of previous eras can pass on to today's communicators in the work of evangelization.
Content manager for the Montreal diocesan website Marybel Mayorga, soon to be 33, is enthusiastic about pursuing the Faith Communication in the Digital World course. She met with us:
Why did you choose to take this training course?
It was a worldwide competition held by the Dicastery for Communication. I applied with the encouragement of those around me, and I also personally felt a call - a call, since I am also a student in communications. I wanted to help, in my modest way, and pass on this faith, because I cannot keep it to myself; I have to share it - not only with young people, but with the whole world if possible. I am simply a messenger, learning as I go, but I want to share my experience.
What do you hope to get out of this training program?
It is technical training, but I also want to learn from the arts; the mosaics, for example, and the paintings… How did these artists convey their faith through the craft in which they were also living? How can we do the same? How can we transmit their message to the people of God?
What does it mean to you to be having this experience in Rome?
I am excited and jittery. It brings me a lot of joy and happiness, and confirmation from God. I was able to read the first text just in front of the tomb of St. Peter, which allowed me to go straight to the root, straight to our roots. It is also an invitation to have faith and trust God in all our projects. Without this trust, we cannot move forward. Putting all our trust in God can bring us great joy.
It is not easy to do today, putting all one's trust in God, when we are so often encouraged to manage everything by ourselves...
Yes, and this is also a challenge for social networks in the digital world. This is why the Dicastery for Communication has chosen young communications specialists who have faith to go and proclaim and share this faith. Not only to our own little circle; we need to expand this circle outwards, to include not only our own culture, but also opening out to other cultures, as well, and to the whole world.
In fact, the young people participating in this program come from many other countries. What has your experience been in this intercultural atmosphere?
It's wonderful, because you understand the realities of the Church in each country. It is so different from one country to another, in Kenya, for example, or in Canada... By putting all of these elements together towards a common goal, we are learning a lot. I think it's wonderful to be able to come together here - even as we are taking every precaution, given the circumstances! But it's a wonderful experience.
Where you work in Canada, what are the challenges facing church communications?
In Canada, our faith must remain present and it needs to grow a lot. The challenge is for the Church to remain present and to be aware of what people, the Catholic faithful, are feeling. Always accompanying them on their journey, in their faith, in their lives. I can say this about Quebec because I live there; it's not the same as in Latin American countries, where faith is very much alive. Unfortunately, that is not the case where I am from. So our great challenge is to go forward and bring the Good News to other people and accompany them.
Once you have completed this course, what would you like to achieve?
To work here in Italy, at the Vatican! (Laughs) But it's not up to me to decide, it's God who will decide. In any case, after this, I want to give my life, to be useful. I think God has guided me along this path, through communications. I started studying communications late, I never thought I would go into this field. Before, my life was in the arts. I was a professional dancer, an artist, and I accompanied artists on tour, in Europe and in Canada... That was my vocation, until one day I became ill. It was a call from God. I was really sick, and it was in the middle of a tour. When I came back to Canada, I felt that God was telling me "You can give more, I need you to give more". So I started studying later in life, finished my degree at 30, with a child, breastfeeding... But look where it got me! I am really happy to be in this team learning along with all these young people.
So I would wish all young people not to be afraid to proclaim their faith, to do so with great humility and truly believe in their dreams.