The SIGNIS (Catholic Association for Communication) World Congress (SWC2022) will begin on August 16 in Seoul, South Korea.
Despite recent flooding in Seoul, the August 16–19 event will go ahead as planned, according to Francis Kim Seug-wal, chief of the SWC2022 organizing committee.
Catholic media practitioners (journalists and communicators) from around the world will reflect on the theme "Peace in the Digital World."
The event will take place at Sogang University in Seoul, established by the Jesuit priests in 1960.
There will be three major seasons: hyper-connected yet alone, fake news and loss of trust, and protection of our common home (care of the environment).
There will also be an International Journalist Forum and an International Youth Forum.
According to the organizers, eight young members representing the different regions of the world where SIGNIS is working will share their take on "Digital media and evangelization" and their own experiences as young Catholic communicators.
The welcome Mass will be held at St. Ignatius Chapel, and the thanksgiving Mass will be at Myeongdong Cathedral in Jung-gu, Seoul.
SIGNIS World will hold its Board of Directors meetings before the global event ends.
"This congress will prove to be a meaningful opportunity for Catholic communicators around the world to unite and seek alternatives," said Cardinal Andrew YEOM Soo-jung, joint honorary chairman of SIGNIS World Congress.
Members of SIGNIS, the global Catholic communication association, include those involved in radio, television, cinema, video, media education, the internet, and new technology.
"Our world is currently undergoing a digital revolution at a rapid pace. The main agenda of this World Congress will be searching for ways to secure and expand peace in the digital world," said Daniel HAN Seung-Soo, president of the Organizing Committee.
"I believe Catholics, more than anyone, should take the lead in realizing this peace in the digital age we are living in. Also, I strongly believe that SIGNIS members engaged in the media sector must stand at the forefront to guide other Catholics in creating a beautiful, livable and conflict-free world," he added.
The SIGNIS World Congress is organized every four years. In the past, SIGNIS held World Congresses in Rome (2001 and 2014), Lyon (2005), Chiang Mai (2009), and Québec City (2017). The 2021 SIGNIS World Congress was postponed to the 2022 summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The unique feature of SWC2022 is that it will be a "hybrid" Congress where in-person conferences will take place alongside non-face-to-face meetings via YouTube and metaverse.
"This will be an innovative solution for responding to our current changes. The metaverse platform as a part of the Congress will provide opportunities for more youth around the world to access the Catholic religion and to showcase Korea’s technological capabilities as a digital powerhouse," said Archbishop Peter CHUNG Soon-Taic of Seoul, joint Chairman of SIGNIS World Congress.
"I ask all communicators, not only those of the Catholic faith, to take the lead even more vigorously in spreading the good values of the Church through the media," he added.
In his message, Bishop Simon OK Hyn-jin, President of the Committee for Social Communication, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea, said, "We are obliged to reflect on whether we are sharing the right information on the same network and engaging in meaningful communication that promotes mutual growth. To form healthy alliances for the world's marginalized and poor, we need the media to take an interest in and communicate with them.
He urged all media specialists to take lead in realizing global justice, peace and a people-centered world.
"This World Congress, where diverse groups of communication experts from all over the world are participating, will bear fruitful results," said John Chrysostom Lee Byung-wook, President of the Catholic Lay Apostolate Council of Korea.
"It becomes a valuable venue for Catholic communicators around the world to find hope for the future and rearm themselves with the spirit of the Gospel to make this world a better place in the eyes of God," he added.
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.