local_offer Communication

“We have been struggling all night and have caught nothing, but at your word I will let down the nets” (Lk. 5:5)

eventWednesday, 14 April 2021

A social change is dawning after the nights of failed attempts, of paralyzing fears, of digital divides... at His word we have “cast our nets”, because the pandemic could not stop our educational mission from continuing, at a time that it must be more transformative than ever, and neither could we stop building the “Assumption Body” on so many levels. It is difficult to see threats as opportunities and weaknesses as strengths, but regarding Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), it has been revealed that the desire to strengthen communion and build the Kingdom is stronger than the fear of not knowing how to use ICTs, and it has allowed us to turn the threat of an imposed social distancing into an opportunity to weave networks of communion.

The articles in this issue of the magazine have shown us many examples of how ICTs are being put at the service of communion and mission. From the communications team we would like to show you just three of the many lessons learned, and which will undoubtedly continue in our lives once this virus leaves us.

Before continuing, we invite you to think on a personal level, or with others, what have you learned from ICTs during this pandemic? What do you want to continue learning?

We hope that the list of lessons learned, like those we want to continue to achieve, will be long. Here we will point out a few:

 

1. ICTs at the service of communion and mission

We have experienced how ICTs favour meeting areas that provide opportunities for sharing, deepening and celebrating faith and life, and therefore building the Church in communion. However, this communion does not replace that which takes place when Christians gather around the table of His Body and His Word, so we will not tire of insisting that we must return to our parish and respective communities. But we must not lose other established fraternal bonds with Christians with whom we continue to share prayer, formation or life, because we have common religious sensitivities or ways of thinking. To give an example, Taizé has opened its digital doors in the “real” times of prayer, workshops or song rehearsals, making them accessible to people near and far away. The same thing has happened in many parishes or church movements.

ICTs have allowed our Congregation to:

1. Continue to hold formation sessions;

2. Participate with other communities and laity in celebrations taking place in other countries or territories;

3. Continue the visits made by the General Community to the different Provinces;

4. To bring together young people from all over the world who participated in the bicentenary of the birth of our foundresses in 2017;

5. To establish working groups at the Congregational level in different areas (Assumption Together, JPIC-S, education, youth, archives, communication, finance...), with people from different countries;

6. Share formation resources in our different Provinces

 

2. ICT at the service of universal brotherhood

During the pandemic, the so-called “UBUNTU” philosophy has spread, a word which meaning is rooted in the African wisdom that weaves the social fabric in virtues such as solidarity, loyalty, hospitality, generosity... not only lived within the family with whom we share consanguinity, but also with the extended tribal or village organization. In a word, Ubunto sums up in one word the universal fraternity to which Pope Francis invites us to in his last encyclical “Fratelli tutti”. Ubuntu was the name given to an operating system designed by a group of free software developers. From the technological revolution that took place in the 20th century, two currents have developed the great accumulation of changes and transformations that have taken place in the field of ICT since then: the dazzling impulse produced by the big companies that compete and devour each other (Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook...), and the discreet beacon light of the developers of free and open-source software. The latter are engineers, programmers or self-taught people who share their knowledge for the benefit of all, and not the company. During the pandemic many people and groups from all over the world have turned to free programs and resources to be able to carry out their meetings, gatherings, activities... Large companies have also made many of their resources freely available. Many individuals have also shared for free the educational, pastoral or training resources they have generated on the web. Let us hope that this solidarity continues beyond the pandemic.

 

3. ICTs are not accessible to all

Unfortunately, we have also noticed that the digital continent also has borders:

1. Political ideologies establish state filters for forbidden content for fear that they will awaken numbed consciences.

2. Lack of infrastructure prevents access to ICTs for people in entire countries or areas with scarce energy resources which are indispensable for technology that works with electricity; or it does not make it possible for the internet to reach all places.

3. Poverty creates a gap in all societies between those who have or do not have money to buy devices that remain expensive.

4. Lack of knowledge also widens the gap between people who know how to use ICTs and those who do not.

5. The rapid development of ICTs not only widens these social gaps, it also deteriorates an environment that cannot keep up with the pace of this development. These are all unresolved issues that have been exacerbated by the pandemic, and in which no investment is being made in finding a vaccine.

Even so, let us not remain only with this last learning. Let us think that the two previous ones will help us unlearn the third one.