Archbishop Eamon Martin pays tribute to journalists who gave their lives in the search of the truth

16 May 2021

To mark World Communications Day which is celebrated today – the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, Archbishop Eamon Martin has released a video presentation of Pope Francis’ message.  Pope Francis has chosen to reflect on the theme “‘Come and See’(Jn 1:46). Communicating by Encountering People Where and as They Are.”

This theme recalls the Gospel account of the first disciples’ initial encounters with Jesus, who invited them to “Come and see,” to enter into relationship with Him. Later, one of those disciples, Saint Philip, speaking to his friend Nathaniel, invited him to “Come and see” the Messiah whom he had found.

Please see below the text of Archbishop Eamon Martin’s brief video welcoming Pope Francis’ message for WCD2021:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In the world of communications nothing beats seeing things in person – through first-hand experience.

For World Communications Day this year, Pope Francis reflects on those  words, “Come and See” – words which Jesus himself sometimes used to people who were curious to find out more about him.

Good media and journalism likewise invites us to “Come and See” . The internet for example brings to our doorsteps events that are happening all over the world and enables us to share them with others.

Of course there is also the risk of misinformation and fake news. All the more reason, then, for people us to be responsible and authentic online and to be witnesses of the truth.

Pope Francis acknowledges in his message the courage and commitment of journalists and other media professionals who often risk their lives helping us to learn the reality of life around the world today.

They beam onto our mobile devices and into our living rooms the hardships facing countless people around the world, like persecution, oppression, poverty, war and injustice.

In recent times, they have helped us to see first-hand the way that the Covid19 pandemic has been impacting people not just here at home but also in the poverty-stricken villages of Asia, Latin America and Africa.

I’m conscious today of the work of brave journalists here in Ireland like Lyra McKee, Veronica Guerin, and Martin O’Hagan who risked and lost their lives while seeking to uncover and report  the truth.

I think also of the two Spanish journalists who were killed last month in Burkina Faso along with the Irish conservationist, Rory Young.

Pope Francis reminds us today how the Good News of the Gospel has spread down the centuries through person-to-person, heart-to-heart encounters.

Every media tool has its value in handing on the faith, but what really impresses others is a personal witness to faith, hope and charity.

That is the challenge that faces all of us – to communicate our love for Jesus by encountering others, where they are and as they are, and inviting them to “Come and See”.

God bless you in this mission, and may truth guide all those who are working in media and journalism here in Ireland.


Notes to Editors

  • Archbishop Eamon Martin is Archbishop of Armagh and chair of the Council for Communications of the Bishops’ Conference.
  • Read Pope Francis’ message for World Communications Day on:
  • The World Day of Social Communications is the only World Day established by the Second Vatican Council.  In 1963 the Council issued the Decree on the tools of social communication, Inter mirifica, which included the proposal that the Church celebrate a day dedicated to social communications. The first World Communications Day was observed on 7 May 1967, under the pontificate of Saint Pope Paul VI, who drew attention to the communications media and its enormous potential for cultural transformation.
  • Whilst the text of the World Communications Day message is published each year on 24 January on the Feast of Saint Francis de Sales, the patron saint of journalists and editors, WCD is celebrated annually on the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, which in 2020 falls on Sunday 24 May.  Message themes from recent years include:

–          Social Networks: portals of truth and faith; new spaces for evangelization (2013)

–          Communication at the Service of an Authentic Culture of Encounter (2014)

–          Communicating the Family: A Privileged Place of Encounter with the Gift of Love (2015)

–          Communication and Mercy: A Fruitful Encounter (2016)

–          Fear not, for I am with you (Is 43:5): Communicating Hope and Trust in our Time (2017)

–          The truth will set you free (Jn 8:32). Fake news and journalism for peace (2018)

–          We are members one of another (Eph 4:25) From social network communities to the human community (2019)

–          ‘So that you can tell your children and grandchildren (Ex 10:2) Life creates history’ (2020)                

For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long +353 (0) 86 172 7678