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By Christina Hermoso

As the Roman Catholic Church marks the 51st World Communications Day today coinciding with Ascension Sunday, the Holy Father Pope Francis urged the faithful not to get fixated on the “bad news” (wars, terrorism, scandals, and all sorts of human failure).

Pope Francis / AFP PHOTO / Tiziana FABI / Manila Bulletin File Photo

“I would like to encourage everyone to engage in constructive forms of communication that reject prejudice towards others and foster a culture of encounter, helping all of us to view the world around us with realism and trust,” the Pontiff added.

The Pope proposed “that all of us work at overcoming that feeling of growing discontent and resignation that can at times generate apathy, fear or the idea that evil has no limits. Moreover, in a communications industry which thinks that good news does not sell, and where the tragedy of human suffering and the mystery of evil easily turn into entertainment, there is always the temptation that our consciences can be dulled or slip into pessimism,”

Pope Francis said:“I am convinced that we have to break the vicious circle of anxiety and stem the spiral of fear resulting from a constant focus on the ‘bad news’ (wars, terrorism, scandals, and all sorts of human failure).”

He clarified:”This has nothing to do with spreading misinformation that would ignore the tragedy of human suffering, nor is it about a naive optimism blind to the scandal of evil.”

The Holy Father expressed his wish for more positive stories that focus on the “good.” He added: “I would like to contribute to the search for an open and creative style of communication that never seeks to glamorize evil but instead to concentrate on solutions and to inspire a positive and responsible approach on the part of its recipients. ”

Pope Francis said: “I ask everyone to offer the people of our time storylines that are at heart ‘good news.’ For us Christians, that lens can only be the good news, beginning with the Good News par excellence: ‘the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Son of God’ (Mk 1:1). With these words, Saint Mark opens his Gospel not by relating ‘good news’ about Jesus, but rather the good news that is Jesus Himself. Indeed, reading the pages of his Gospel, we learn that its title corresponds to its content and, above all else, this content is the very person of Jesus. Our hope based on the good news which is Jesus Himself makes us lift up our eyes to contemplate the Lord in the liturgical celebration of the Ascension.”

Meanwhile, Bishop Jesse Mercado will lead a concelebrated high mass at 6 p.m. today at the Ascension of Our Lord Parish in Sucat, Paranaque City in observance of Ascension Sunday, which commemorates the bodily ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven, 40 days after His Resurrection.

In masses today, church rites will include the traditional blessing of candles, the extinction of the Paschal candle, a triumphal procession, and the reenactment of the Ascension of our Lord, traditionally done by elevating the image of Jesus above the church altar.

A vigil and a novena in preparation for Pentecost Sunday, which will be observed next Sunday, June 4, will also be held.

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