Sunday, February 21, 2010

Digital Communications in the Church

DHAKA (UCAN) – A lecture on digital communications here by a Vatican expert has exposed just how big are the challenges for the local Church. [or how far behind we are.  I thought we opened the windows to let some fresh air in?]

Most of the priests, nuns and brothers have little knowledge and scope to use digital media and communication tools,” said Father Theotonius P. Rebeiro, chancellor of Dhaka archdiocese. [I thought Vatican 2 modernized the Church?]

“It’s costly [?!  So does settlement cases!] and we’re not asked to use them for our ministries. [What?  Wait and see?  Was liturgical dance asked?  But I am digressing.] In my case, I can’t [use digital media] because I am busy with pastoral duties and deal with an irregular electricity supply,” said the priest, who is also pastor of Holy Rosary Church in Tejgaon, the largest Catholic parish in Bangladesh.

“For a long time I’ve not opened my email inbox and I’ve no idea about how to blog, use podcasts or social networking sites such as Facebook and YouTube,” he told UCA News. [I think this is the real time for a REAL aggiornamento, eh?]

“But I realize that the Church needs to be present in this digital world.” [We are.  Some priests are.]

The gathering, organized by the Episcopal Commission for Social Communications (ECSC), featured Vatican representative Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli as keynote speaker.

The archbishop, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, in an hour’s speech, spoke of the need for modern techniques.

“The Catholic Church must be present in this digital world because the Holy Father inspires us to use modern media and communications tools to fulfill the Church’s mission of proclamation,” he said at the event on Tuesday [Feb. 16]. [Why are we soooo slow in this?  Even before Vatican 2, priests, bishops and nuns have been active in the media of Social Communications.  Archbishop Fulton Sheen is one.  He pioneered televangelism!  Mother Angelica of EWTN founded the famous TV network at her monastery's own garage!  Here in the Philippines, the first Catholic radio network is NOT Radio Veritas in Manila, but DXMS in Cotabato City, founded by the Oblate Fathers...before the War!  It is all in the passion and dedication.  These exemplary men and women of the Lord, LISTENED to the proddings of the Holy Spirit and saw the HUGE potential of the pulpit of the airwaves to spread the Gospel to people of ALL Faiths!  Do we need another Vatican document to tell us what to do?  Well, we are also bad in following what the Holy See says, aren't we?  Take Redemptionis Sacramentum, Liturgicam Authenticam, Summorum Pontificum...]

Using social networking sites

He stressed the use of social networking sites, and blogging and podcasting in different Church ministries.
While participants were eager to learn, some found Archbishop Celli’s lecture hard to grasp. [Or were they really so rooted in what they do, change is sooo hard to accept.]

“I actually didn’t understand much of what Archbishop Celli spoke about, using social networking in Church ministries,” Holy Cross Brother Placid Peter Rebeiro told UCA News. [Time to get out more often I guess.]

But I realize it’s high time the Church takes major initiatives to go digital.” [AMEN!]

Sister Bina Rozario, head of Catechist Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Queen of Angels (CIC) in Dhaka told UCA News a similar story.

“Neither our sisters nor aspirants use the computer and the Internet,” she said. “I myself have little knowledge about digital media and social networking."

She acknowledged the Church needed to introduce a digital culture, however.

“We’re far behind in terms of communications and digital media usage.” [As a church, probably.  I know a bishop who does not even know how to open his Yahoo Mail account!]

Church needs to enter digital age

Sattya Purification, a third-year major seminarian, said the Church was not well-equipped with media and communications tools either.

“It will be very challenging for us to cope with a digital world.” [Guess they never heard of EWTN, Gloria TV or Catholic blog sites and Facebooks groups!]

His seminary had enough computers for students but only three Internet connections. [Maybe the seminary is in a poor location?  Or the rector does not see the necessity of having more Internet connectivity?]

Cizar Rinku Costa, who had completed his seminarian studies, said he had “no idea what Archbishop Celli spoke about, on the use of digital media and social networks.”

“I’ve little knowledge about using the computer and know almost nothing about the Internet,” he said.
Christian Communications Center (CCC) director Father Kamal Corraya, who is also secretary of ECSC, admitted to UCA News that there was a long way to go to fulfill Archbishop Celli’s dream. [Were they subjected in a cryogenic experiment or what?!  Is this a heavily cloistered community?!  This is too hard to accept!]

“I admit that what the Vatican archbishop suggested is difficult for us to do but not impossible. Since almost all our bishops attended the media seminar, they now will decide what the Church needs to do to engage with the digital world."  [Now that is a good start!]

“Archbishop Celli assured us that if the Church asks, the Vatican will help to educate priests and Religious in media and communications,” he added. [There are lay people who are willing to help.]

About 300 Catholics including apostolic nuncio Archbishop Joseph Marino, almost all the country’s bishops, together with priests, brothers, nuns and media persons attended the event.

The Vatican archbishop was invited by ECSC chairman Bishop Gervas Rozario of Rajshahi to visit the local Church and promote the Vatican’s teaching on social communications.


We Filipinos have a saying...

Kung gugustuhin may paraan.  Kung ayaw, maraming dahilan.

If one wants it, he can find a lot of ways.  If one doesn't want it, he can find a lot of reasons not to.

Maybe sister can help them...

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