by Father C M Paul
ROME, APR 20, 2017: Pope Francis has appointed 13 new consulters, including an Indian, for the Vatican`s Secretariat for Social Communications. Father Peter Gonsalves of Mumbai Salesian Province is currently the dean of the Faculty of Social Communication Sciences (FSC) at Universita Pontificia Salesiana (UPS) Rome. The consulters were appointed on April 12.
The Salesian Rector Major appointed Father Gonsalves the FSC dean on September 24, 2015. He is the first non-European to hold that post in FSC, which was established in 1988.
Father Gonsalves pioneered media education in India since 1984. He is a communication research analyst of Mahatma Gandhi`s sartorial/nonverbal communication.
Author of three books on Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Father Gonsalves' first book on Gandhiji (Sage 2008) - 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 (Sage 2012) again on Gandhi investigates the power of a symbol to qualitatively transform society, studying Mahatma Gandhi`s use of clothing as a metaphor for unity, empowerment and liberation from imperial subjugation.
Father Gonsalves` third book Gandhi and the Popes, (Peter Lang 2015) investigates how Mahatma Gandhi - 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.'
Father 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. He founded in Pune in 1992 Tej-Prasarini, a multimedia production center to raise awareness of the urgency of life-based education in vernacular Marathi language of Maharashtra state. Later in 1994, Tej-Prasarini was shifted to Matunga, Mumbai, where has become a flourishing media house of Salesians in South Asia.
He 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 around 40 all-India courses on media education for schoolteachers, social workers and youth facilitators form diverse ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds.
Father Gonsalves also coordinated its first five-language web portal of the Salesians at its headquarters in Rome. He was also president of INTERSIG, the international wing of SIGNIS, a world association of communicators for a culture of peace.
A musician, lyricist and composer of modern hymns 'The Peter Gonsalves Collection: Lyrical food for the soul' is a collection of 70 modern hymns by Father Peter Gonsalves released in 2012.
Born in Mumbai, India in 1958, Father Gonsalves became a Salesian in 1977 and was ordained priest on December 19, 1987.
He holds the titles of Master of Philosophy and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pune and a Bachelor of Theology from Kristu Jyoti College in Bangalore.
He received his doctorate in Social Communication at the Salesian Pontifical University in 2007. In the previous years, he had also obtained a diploma in Counseling from Xavier`s Institute, Mumbai, and a diploma in Media Education from British Film Institute - Open University, London.
He started teaching in 1981 in India, where he founded the Don Bosco Creativity Workshops in Mumbai. He was the National Coordinator for social communications from 1993 to 1999.
He was in Italy from 2002 to 2006 as a coordinator of the web portal of the Salesians of Don Bosco at the Generalate. He was President of Intersig (SIGNIS - International Group) from 2005 to 2009. He began teaching at the UPS in 2008, was co-opted as a lecturer that same year and promoted to extraordinary professor in 2013.
"I feel a sense of being inadequate for the task; yet a readiness to share what I have learned (and I`m still learning) about being a globally compassionate Church in our complex and confusing digital age," Father Gonsalves said.
The other consulters are : Father Ivan Maffeis, under-secretary for the Italian Episcopal Conference; Father Jose Maria La Porte, dean of the Faculty of Institutional Social Communication of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross; Dominican Father Eric Salobir, Promoter General for social communications for the Order of Preachers; Jesuit Father James Martin, editor of America magazine; Jesuit Father Jacquineau Azetsop, dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Pontifical Gregorian University; Dr Paolo Peverini, lecturer in Semiotics at the LUISS 'Guido Carli'; Dr Fernando Gimenez Barriocanal, president and delegator advisor of Radio Popolar Cadena COPE; Dr Ann Carter, Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications; Graham Ellis, deputy director of BBC Radio; Dr Michael P Warsaw, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of EWTN Global Catholic Network; Dr Dino Cataldo Dell`Accio, Chief ICT Auditor at the United Nations; and Dr Michael Paul Unland, executive director of the Catholic Media Council (CAMECO).