Training next generation media enthusiasts

By Maria Divij SJ

As Junior Scholastic at 2019, attending a seminar on ‘Jesuits Contribution to Higher education in India’, at St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, one of the (then) editors of a respected Jesuit journal, expressed his displeasure that the Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAP) had neglected the point of media communications entirely, and raised a question saying why wasn’t it made a decree. That question stays with me even to this day, and this media bootcamp helped me to explore more on looking for an answer for that question.

Three words - Storytelling, Liberation, and Companionship - will succinctly surmise the four-day media bootcamp organized for ten scholastics from De Nobili College (DNC), Pune. Facilitated by the Communications Office of the General Curia and JCSA (Jesuit Conference of South Asia), the event was guided by the peppy and insightful Fr Vivian Richard, SJ, from the Communications Office of the General Curia, in Rome, and a jolly elder brother vibes Fr Vernard Antony, SJ, JCSA Communication Coordinator. This immersive experience aimed to equip us with essential skills for media communication.

“A story is like water, air and oxygen, and storytellers keep the story alive”, said director Sivakumar Mohanan while addressing us on the art of storytelling in cinema.


The foundation of the bootcamp rested on the recognition that storytelling plays a pivotal role in communication. Both Jesus Christ, and St Ignatius of Loyola are great storytellers, no doubt in that, because their narratives still continue to inspire and captivate us across generations. But when we tell this story, we need to be effective in capturing people’s imagination. Our present world’s imagination revolves strongly around one perception i.e., eye, which paves way for images.

One of the highlights of the bootcamp was our conversation with director Sivakumar Mohanan, who emphasized the profound impact of storytelling and narration on the art of cinema. His words resonated deeply as he shared the transformative power of a well-told story, accentuating the importance of engaging and captivating the viewers through the art of visual.

What do we do with our new found knowledge? Put it into practice.

This led to one of the most enriching aspects of the bootcamp that was the opportunity to apply our newfound knowledge by creating photo essays ranging across diverse topics. These creative presentations showcased the unique perspectives of each one of us, further more highlighted to me the power of visual storytelling. Additionally, we collaborated in two groups to produce documentaries on “Digital Living” and “Ignatian Spirituality in Indian Context”. These projects not only challenged our technical skills, but also encouraged us to deep dive into meaningful narratives that resonate with contemporary issues.


The culmination of the bootcamp featured a thought-provoking address by Fr John Dardis SJ, the General Counsellor for Discernment and Apostolic Planning, and Director of Communications at the General Curia. He enlightened us, like an elder brother, about the challenges of entering a media landscape, which was already contaminated and imprisoned by propagandist ideologies. He stressed that as Jesuits, our unique role in the media is for liberation, thereby urging us to navigate through the complexities, and contribute to the creation of media content that aligns with Jesuit values and principles.

The four-day media bootcamp was a transformative and enriching experience. The journey from an initial apprehension to confidence in handling cameras and media-making applications marked a personal transformation for me. This bootcamp not only equipped me with practical skills, but also deepened my understanding of the profound impact that storytelling can have on the media landscape. Under the brotherly guidance of seasoned media gurus i.e., Frs Vivian and Vernard, insightful conversations, and collaborative projects have left an indelible mark on my journey towards becoming a conscientious storyteller in a world that breathes media.

As I reflect on this experience, I am filled with gratitude for the opportunities to explore the vast and dynamic world of media. This experience of acquiring new skills and knowledge has fuelled my passion for media, and the awareness of it as a potential tool for effective communication is not only liberating, but resonates within me the words of Antonio Machado, a celebrated Spanish Poet, “Traveler, there is no path, the path is made by walking”.

Watch the two video documentaries “Digital Living” and “Ignatian Spirituality in Indian Context”.

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Posted by Communications Office - Editor in Curia Generalizia
Communications Office
The Communications Office of the General Curia publishes news of international scope on the central government of the Society of Jesus and on the commitments of the Jesuits and their partners. It also handles media relations.

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