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Indian Salesian priest among 13 consultors to Vatican’s media body

Fr. Peter Gonsalves SDB  of India  - RV

Fr. Peter Gonsalves SDB of India - RV

14/04/2017 11:39

An Indian Salesian priest is among 13 new consultors Pope Francis ‎appointed on April 12 to the Vatican’s  Secretariat for Communication.  Fr. Peter ‎Gonsalves, S.D.B., dean of the Faculty of Social Communication Sciences of Rome’s Pontifical ‎Salesian University, is among 6 priests and 7 lay people, including a woman, who will advise the recently-created communications body. 

The Pope established the new Secretariat for Communication in June, 2015, ‎bringing 9 Vatican media bodies under the Secretariat’s direction, headed by Msgr. Dario Viganò, with the purpose of overhauling and streamlining them as a cohesive unit.  The consultors are a separate group from the secretariat members, made up of 16 cardinals, bishops and laypeople the Pope appointed last year..

A member of the Salesian province of ‎Mumbai, Fr. Gonsalves is the first non-European Dean of Faculty of Social Communication Sciences which was established in 1988.‎  He was born in Mumbai on January 3th, 1958.  He has been a Salesian since ‎December ‎‎1977. He was ordained priest on December 19th, 1987. He holds the titles of Master of ‎Philosophy and ‎Bachelor of Arts from the Indian University of Pune and a Bachelor of Theology from ‎Kristu Jyoti ‎College in Bangalore.  He received his PhD in Social Communication at the Salesian ‎Pontifical ‎University in 2007. In the previous years, he had also obtained a diploma in Counselling ‎‎(Xavier's ‎Institute, Mumbai 1988) and a diploma in Media Education (British Film Institute - Open ‎University, ‎London 2003).  ‎

He started teaching in 1981 in India, where he founded the Don Bosco Creativity Workshops ‎in ‎Mumbai and where he was the National Coordinator for Social Communications from 1993 to 1999.‎  From 2005 to 2009, he also served as president of INTERSIG, the international wing of SIGNIS, a world association of ‎communicators for a culture of peace.‎

He was in Italy ‎from ‎‎2002 to 2006 as a coordinator of a 5-language web portal of the Salesians of Don Bosco at the Generalate in ‎Rome‎.  ‎He ‎began teaching at the UPS in 2008, was co-opted as a lecturer that same year and promoted to ‎associate ‎professor on 24 May 2013.‎

Fr. Gonsalves is author of three outstanding academic publications on the father of the Indian nation, Mahatma Gandhi. His first, “Clothing for Liberation: A Communication Analysis of ‎Gandhi’s Swadeshi Revolution”, is the first analysis of Gandhi’s dressing style in terms of ‎communication theory and an exploration of the subliminal messages that were subtly communicated to ‎a large audience.‎  His second book, “Khadi: Gandhi’s Mega Symbol of Subversion,” ‎investigates the power of a symbol to qualitatively transform society, studying Gandhi’s use ‎of clothing as a metaphor for unity, empowerment and liberation from imperial subjugation.‎  Fr Gonsalves’ third work, “Gandhi and the Popes”, investigates how India’s freedom movement leader, whether in his lifetime or posthumously, was respected, appreciated and, in one case, imitated by ‎the Popes from Pius XI to Francis. In the process, he “explores and assesses the popular claim that ‎Gandhi was influenced by Christ, and the not so popular conjecture that Pope Francis was influenced ‎by Gandhi.”‎

Fr. Gonsalves began his career in media as media education trainer in 1984 and a community worker for ‎rural development at the Bosco Gramin Vikas Kendra, Ahmednagar. In 1992 he founded Tej-‎Prasarini, a multimedia production and training centre to raise awareness of the urgency of life-based education in ‎vernacular marathi language of Maharashtra state.  Later in 1994, Tejprasarini was shifted to Matunga, ‎Mumbai where it is a flourishing media and training house of the Salesians of South Asia.‎  The Salesian priest promoted a series of teacher-training manuals called ‘Quality Life Education’, the first of which ‎was his own work: Exercises in Media Education (1994). Using this, he conducted no less than 40 all-‎India courses on media education for schoolteachers, social workers and youth facilitators from diverse ‎ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds.‎

14/04/2017 11:39