Haiti: Towards a culture of encounter

After a year of preparation from a distance via internet, five experts coming from different countries (Argentina, Perù and Cuba), arrived in Haiti two days ahead of the beginning of the Seminar, so as to get to know and to immerse themselves in the reality of the people and of the local Church.

“We visited Radio-Tele Soleil they shared – which transmits from a temporary office at Port Au Prince, since the building of the Archbishop’s House, wher ethey used to have their office, was destroyed by the earthquake. In that disaster unfortunately some of their collaborators lost their life.

Theirs is the most important Catholic broadcasting station, with a national coverage. We were able to visit also the city center of Port Au Prince, with the Cathedral that is sstill in ruions but which remains as the symbol of the suffering of this people. It was a strong experience, which helped us in the succeeding days to establish relationships in an adequate way with the persons we met.”

“From the life of the Word to the need to communicate. Towards a true culture of encounter”. With this title, from February 17 to 23, the Interdiocesan Seminar on Communication, organized by the Office of Communications of the CELAM was held in the Diocese of Anse à Veau et Miragoane (Haiti). The 79 participants were coming from 8 of the 10 Haitian Dioceses: Les Cayes, Gonaïves, Cap-Haitien, Jeremie, Hinche, Port-aut-Prince, Port-de-Paix and from the diocese that hosted the convention.

The Seminar was requested by Mons. Pierre A. Dumas, Bishop of Anse à Veau et Miragoane, and was brought ahead by a team of NetOne in Latin America (Latam), a network of communicators who take their inspiration from the spirituality of the Focolare.

The Seminar went beyond all our expectations: 5 intense days, imprinted with the “trinitarian vision” of communication, with the proposal of the life of the Word even before the communicative event itself.  Everyday began with an exchange of experiences on how each one tried to live the phrase of the Gospel that was proposed the day before, and then a meditation on the new phrase chosen for that day. Then, the different means of communication were tackled, through theoretical explanations and moments of specific workshops: radio, print media, theater, television and internet.

The dialogue, the questions, the group work, were very much participated and inclusive. The themes were given in Spanish, the texts of the powerpoint presentations and written copies of the themes were in French, with Creole translation… Nevertheless language was not a barrier for anyone!

In conclusion, the Mass celebrated by Mons. Pierre Dumas, was really a moment of joy and emotion: we felt that during those 5 days a piece of renewed humanity was built among the participants.

“For us – relates the group of NetOne – it was the possibility of seeing this marvelous people in a new way, who often are not presented in this way by the means of communication of our countries. We were conquered by the simplicity, the joy, enthusiasm and hope of the Haitians. We realized that we are one family, wherein we live as brothers  the reciprocity between Latin America and the Carribean. We left Haiti with the awareness thar we have received so much more that what we came to give”.

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