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Ricardo Morales, new dircom of the Augustinians: "The Church is in the world and we must respond"

Updated: Jan 13, 2023

Last October 3, the Spanish journalist Ricardo Morales Jimenez began his journey as the new director of communication in the new office of the Curia in Rome

With the support of the Prior General, who has addressed the superiors and offices of communication of the Order of Saint Augustine regarding the constitution and implementation of the international office of communication, Father Alejandro wanted to highlight the importance of this new reality in contributing to the unity and knowledge of the Order, supporting the communication teams that make up our circumscriptions, spreading the Augustinian spirituality and fostering the relationship with different ecclesial realities.

"We want a professional, effective and decisive communication structure", assures Father Alejandro.

In an extraordinary year in the life of the Church, with the WYD in Lisbon and the Synod of Bishops just around the corner, we spoke with the new dircom of the Augustinians in Rome and the objectives in the field of communication for the Order.

Ricardo, what is your impression of this first month in charge of the office of the General Curia?

There is a lot of work to do! To start a project of this magnitude, with so many implications, with so many singularities to attend to and understand, is an exciting adventure. The welcome and trust that both Father Javier Pérez Barba and the Prior General have given me in this regard has been very gratifying. I would also like to highlight the support and information provided by the Assistants General, as well as the staff of the Curia, to get a first glimpse of the richness and density of the actions of the Order throughout the world.

Why is an international office necessary?

It is something that has been detected for a long time, since the Ordinary General Chapter of 2019 and that, in the last Intermediate General Chapter of San Diego, has ended up being defined. It is essential, for an ecclesial reality as rich as that of the Augustinians, to have a professional communications office at the disposal of the whole Order. It is going to be a long road, not exempt of complications, but I am convinced that it will bear fruit - hopefully in abundance - if we overcome some internal and external obstacles.

"We have a spiritual patrimony of incalculable value for the Church and for the people of today. We must redouble our efforts and share what is most luminous in our community life"

For example?

I am referring to the misinterpretation of autonomy with independence, the duplication of processes with a misunderstood apostolic zeal. The friars, religious, missionaries, laity and other members of the Augustinian family know that out there, there is a suffering community that is waiting for us to give it the only truly fruitful response: love for the other. This way of looking at reality goes beyond the walls of the Church itself, it appeals to an intrinsic need of our condition. It is to see, in short, that "Other" in the other of which Kapuscinski spoke.

What are the first steps to be taken?

We are executing the steps of an extensive, rich communication plan, elaborated during this last year and that covers the main urgencies that, in this aspect, the Order has today. On the one hand, we are going to increase the frequency of the informative bulletins that come out of the curia, transferring the voice and figure of the General as a sign of unity. At the same time, we will dynamize the social networks, harmonize aesthetic criteria and corporate image in collaboration with the rest of the offices. On the other hand, we want to propose a fluid treatment with all those responsible for communication in the Order and renew the web page; adding a section of news of the provinces, vicariates and circumscriptions where our religious and laity do an immense work but that, unfortunately, does not reach the faithful and those interested in our mission as much as we would like. This is a fundamental point. We have a spiritual patrimony of incalculable value for the Church and for the people of today. We must redouble our efforts so that what is really newsworthy in our community life, what is most luminous, what causes vocations to continue to expand in the most remote places of the world when in Europe it seems that the word of Christ is languishing, may come to light with what it is, without adornment or fuss, but with the decision that this is a good thing. We are narrative beings, constituted by the Word. This must be noted.

Beyond the work in the internal and external communication of the Curia, is there any novelty that you are going to propose to the different territories of the Order?

Yes, of course. From supporting as much as necessary the creation of digital workshops to form our communities (which is already underway in Sahagún, for example), to highlighting everything that is generated within the Order. We will also be bringing out the activities of the Patristicum, of our General Archive - which has documentation of the Order for almost 8 centuries and which is a treasure to be shared -, of the work of the postulator of the Order.... At the same time we are preparing the draft of a general protocol of action for cases of crisis, supporting us with other ecclesial realities that are several elbows away from us and that with their example demonstrate, day after day, that a professional, transparent, effective, affective and diligent communication.

How will these changes be implemented?

By listening, praying and doing. We have demonstrated that there are many things that have been done well in complicated moments for the Order. And this is to be applauded because every time we get it right, we gain credibility. In the end we follow the teachings and examples of life of our father St. Augustine, of the saints of the Order, of our superiors and, above all, of the truth that emanates from the Gospel. This, in a socio-cultural context that, why deny it, has in the spotlight what the Church does or does not do, far from being a handicap, we should see it as an immense opportunity to go in communion among us, with our brothers of faith and with the Church; going out to meet the man of today. We have a magnificent opportunity to carry out that "serene, calm revolution of common sense" proposed by Gregorio Luri. The Church needs communication professionals who dedicate a lot of time and faith to what they are doing. This is how we grow qualitatively; this is how the graces of the Lord are added to our work. This is what really matters.

About Ricardo Morales (Alicante, Spain. 1989). Graduated in Journalism with a degree in Integral Communication from the Francisco de Vitoria University, where he is currently studying the last year of his Master's Degree in Humanities. Postgraduate in Business Management from EAE Business School, he began his career in the media shortly after finishing his degree with the magazine of current affairs, culture and Christian thought Democresía; recognized in the Spanish panorama as the best web space of "Opinion" and "Current Affairs" by the Bitácoras and 20 Minutos awards in 2015 and 2016.

During his career he has been responsible for communication of the Foundation V Centenary of the Birth of St. Teresa of Jesus. Similarly, she has participated in digital updating and content development for both the SIC Agency and the ECCLESIA Magazine of the Spanish Episcopal Conference. He was part of the international communication team within the audiovisual section during the process of renewal of Regnum Christi both in the assemblies and conventions in Spain and Rome. He has covered the last two World Youth Days in addition to having made various journalistic reports on the border with Belarus, Mexico, Morocco and China.

His last position was as head of the Family and Religion sections during the re-founding of the newspaper El Debate.

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Great news.....

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