Luminata 2024 – The Salesian Family of South Asia Celebrates Social Communication

by Fr. Sebastian Fernando

2nd March 2024 will be a day to remember for the members of BOSCOM (Salesian Media Network of South Asia) as it marked the launching of its new initiative the “Luminata” project. There were over 60 participants present online from across South Asia consisting of Salesian Social Communication delegates of provinces, members of the Provincial Social Communication Commission, FMA and other Salesian family of Media Animators and various Lay members involved in the media ministry.

Fr. Ernest Rosario, Coordinator of BOSCOM in his opening address went on to state that “the main vision of “Luminata” an annual online event was to unite all the Salesian media personnel for an evening of animation, sharing and discussions centred primarily on the world communications day message of the Holy Father and other relevant and pressing themes pertaining to media.” He also conveyed the best wishes and blessings of Fr. Gildasio Mendes, General Councillor for Social Communication for the successful launch and the continuation of the same for many years to come.

Rev. Dr. Biju Alappat, Secretary of CBCI Office for Social Communications, New Delhi, was the main resource person for the evening. While introducing the speaker Fr. Selvakumar, SDB, Social Communication Delegate of Trichy Province highlighted the long list of academic and professional achievements of Rev. Dr. Biju in the field of Social Communication. The message of His Holiness Pope Francis for the 58th World Day of Social Communications, “Artificial intelligence and the wisdom of the heart: Towards a fully human communication” was the theme for the maiden event of Luminata 2024. Dr. Biju, drawing inspiration from his vast experience and research wonderfully and succinctly summarized the essential elements of the document under the following four categories;

1. Starting with the heart

 2. Opportunity and danger

 3. Growth in humanity

 4. Questions for today and for the future

At the end of the main presentation and after a brief question and answer session the participants were randomly divided into four groups for a brief group sharing and discussion centered on the theme of Artificial Intelligence and its impact through the following questions. 

1. In the light of Pope’s Message for World Communication Day, in what ways can AI be utilized to enhance human connection, empathy, and understanding in communication rather than eroding interpersonal relationships?
2. How can we address the challenges of misinformation, deep fakes, fake news, and disinformation in the age of AI and ensure the integrity of information shared through digital platforms?
3. What ethical considerations should be taken in developing and implementing AI technologies?
4. As messengers of God and agents of communication what are our responsibilities in the field of Artificial Intelligence?

The participants came back to the main forum to share the insights received during the group discussion. The session came to an end with the vote of thanks proposed by Fr. Mathew, SDB from Trichy Province and a concluding prayer. This event was well coordinated by Fr. Arockia Selvakumar, SDB, Social Communication delegate of Trichy province and his team.

The meaning of the Latin word “Luminata” beautifully captures the essence of illumination and enlightenment. In Matthew 5:16, Jesus says “let your light shine”. As media ministers we are called to be beacons of light, shining forth the good news of God to humanity far and wide through the talents, technologies and platforms that are at our disposal. Therefore, we are in a responsible position of being the torch bearers. May the light of morality, ethics and fear of God shine more brightly than the light of corporate greed and the vested interests of the new age dictators and manipulators of truth. “Luminata 2024” ended on a positive note with the hope of becoming a platform and a forum for bringing together the Salesian media fraternity involved in media animation, education, production and research. 

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The society of St. Francis de Sales or Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB), is a religious Congregation founded by St. John Bosco in 1859 in Turin, Italy for the purpose of helping, educating and training poor boys. To date, services of the Salesians have spread to 131 countries in the world. In Sri Lanka, the very first Don Bosco Centre was established in 1956 at Negombo. The Salesians of Don Bosco have, to date established 18 centres in different parts of the country. 


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