Pope Francis announced on Thursday, September 29, the appointment of 10 new consultors to the Dicastery for Communications in the Vatican.
Among the new appointees are Helen Osman, president of SIGNIS, or the World Catholic Association for Communication, and Indian Father George Plathottam of the Salesians of Don Bosco and secretary of the Office of Social Communication of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences.
“This is a humbling honor,” said Osman in a post on the SIGNIS website.
“While the Church is often challenged in our efforts on the ‘Digital Continent,’ to quote Pope Benedict, I believe we are also in a time of grace, as we find creative ways to use digital means to build peace and encourage freedom of expression and freedom of religion throughout the world,” she said.
“I hope my service to the Dicastery will also be of service to SIGNIS members, as we work together to transform our cultures in the light of the Gospel,” added Osman.
The SIGNIS website said Osman’s appointment “is a recognition for all of SIGNIS, which is called to be ‘a network that unites, a network that liberates, a network woven of truth, beauty, faith, and hope,’ as mentioned by Paolo Ruffini during the SIGNIS World Congress 2022.”
“I am humbled by this appointment,” said Father Plathottam in a report on Radio Veritas Asia.
Pope Francis established the Secretariat for Communication in June 2015 with Monsignor Dario Edoardo Viganò, former director of the Vatican Television Center, as its first prefect.
On June 23, 2018, the secretariat was renamed Dicastery for Communication, and on July 5, 2018, Pope Francis appointed award-winning lay journalist Paolo Ruffini as prefect.
He was the first layman named to head a Vatican dicastery. Monsignor Lucio Adrian Ruiz, former head of the Vatican Internet Service, is secretary. Paul Nusiner, former General Manager of Avvenire is director general.
Pope Francis named Archbishop Ivan Maffeis, archbishop of Perugia-Città della Pieve (Italy) and Bishop Valdir Jose De Castro, of Campo Limpo (Brazil) as new members of the dicastery.
Aside from Father Plathottam and Osman, the other new consultors are Oscar Elizade Prada, coordinator of the Department of Communication of CELAM; Father Fabio Pasqualetti, dean of the Faculty of Communication Sciences at the Pontifical Salesian University; Sister Veronica Donatello, head of the National Service for the Pastoral Care of Persons with Disabilities of the Italian Bishops’ Conference; Sister Adelaide Felicitas Ndilu, national executive secretary of the Commission for Social Communications of the Kenyan Bishops’ Conference and director of Radio Waumini; Father Andrew Kaufa, coordinator of the Office of Communications of the AMECEA Regional Conference of Bishops; Tomas Insua, executive director of the Laudato Si movement; Professor Antonio Cisternino, president of the University of Pisa’s Ateno Information System; and John E. Corcoran, founder of Trinity Life Sciences.