Pope St. John Paul II is one of the most beloved saints in recent history. He was canonized in 2014, just nine years after his death. His feast day is October 22.
Elected pope in 1978, he was the first non-Italian Holy Father in over 400 years. He was a transformational leader of the Church, promulgating the Catechism of the Catholic Church and reforming Codes of Canon Law. His prolific writings included 15 apostolic exhortations, 14 encyclicals, 45 apostolic letters, and much more. His papal motto was “Totus Tuus,” which means “totally yours,” which he took from a consecration to Jesus through Mary popularized by St. Louis de Montfort.
Pope St. John Paul II had a lot to say about technology and communications, which come to bear directly on what we do at ACST Catholic. His apostolic letter Il rapido sviluppo (The Rapid Development) was written in 2005 and addressed “to those responsible for communications.”
Pope St. John Paul II wrote the letter 40 years after the publication of Inter Mirrifica (Among the Wonderful), a decree on social communications promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1963. John Paul expanded on the themes of the moral and ethical use of media and communications technology for the purpose of evangelization and the advancement of the Kingdom of God.
While The Rapid Development was written eighteen years ago, and technology has advanced exponentially since then, the teachings and insights of the great saint are still relevant to us in communications today.
Pope John Paul II wrote of the world of mass media also needing to be redeemed and urged that Scripture can form the basis of a code of communication. “Salvation History recounts and documents the communication of God with man, a communication which uses all forms and ways of communicating.”(4) He taught that this can be our model as we use all means at our disposal to communicate the Gospel message. “Communication permeates the essential dimensions of the Church, which is called to announce to all the joyful message of salvation. For this reason, the Church takes advantage of the opportunities offered by the communications media as pathways providentially given by God to intensify communion and to render more penetrating the proclamation of His word.” (6)
Saint John Paul II was a trailblazer in the promotion of the use of technology and media. “Such is the importance of the mass media that fifteen years ago I considered it inopportune to leave their use completely up to the initiatives of individuals or small groups, and suggested that they be decisively inserted into pastoral programs. New technologies, in particular, create further opportunities for communication understood as a service to the pastoral government and organization of the different tasks of the Christian community.” (9)
ACST Catholic embraces Pope John Paul II’s entreaty, “Do not be afraid of new technologies! These rank ‘among the marvelous things’ – inter mirifica – which God has placed at our disposal to discover, to use and to make known the truth, also the truth about our dignity and about our destiny as his children, heirs of his eternal Kingdom.” (14)
Rapidly expanding technology at the service of the Church is the mission of ACST Catholic. One latest development is incorporating the responsible and practical use of AI into our flagship solution, MinistryPlatform. The interface allows the parish team member to quickly generate invitations, event descriptions, email content, and more. All that is needed are the basic details, and MinistryPlatform creates content that can then be edited and refined, even using built-in tools that can improve the tone. A simple walk-through with an ACST Catholic pro can and has alleviated any pastoral concerns about the ethical use of AI for these purposes. As Pope St. John Paul II said many times, “be not afraid.”
About Polly King
Polly King has over 30 years in the marketing and communications field, the last 12 in Catholic publishing. As a convert to the Catholic faith, she has a deep passion for helping parishes engage and evangelize their communities. This led her to join ACS Technologies as part of their mission to serve the Church with technology and solutions that support their ministries. Polly currently resides in Indiana with her husband Bob and their 14-year-old Australian Shepherd, Riley. Her commitment to her faith and dedication to her profession make her an inspiring figure for those looking to make a positive impact in their communities.