Evangelization through the media & its challenges today

October 22, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Sister Joeyanna D’SouzaMumbai, October 11, 2014: As part of their centenary celebrations, the Daughters of Saint Paul hosted a symposium on the title theme on Saturday 11 October 2014 at their facility on Waterfield Road, Bandra West with cheerful and efficient Ladislaus D’Souza, Copy-editor of St Paul’s/Better Yourself Books as moderator.

The veteran and respected journalist, Ms Carol Andrade, currently Dean, Post Graduation Journalism, S.P.I.C.E., speaking on Women in the Media, said that it was unfortunate that women are blocked from attaining senior and powerful positions as journalists and editors who can make a difference in reporting social and economic issues. Women journalists have achieved prominence in fields that appeal to women such as beauty, clothing,  jewelry and décor. But in terms of prominence, the only woman in media that they have heard of is Barkha Dutt!

Carol felt that one of the factors blocking women’s progress is gender discrimination. Women who have made significant contribution despite the odds have faced snide remarks and disgruntled juniors, another being that many women have to give up working in order to raise a family.  It is never the man giving up his career but always the woman. When she tries to get back to journalism after a break, she has to start afresh, her experience discounted.

Regrettably, women are partly to blame for the fact that not sufficient importance is given to issues that concern their own gender, Carol pointed out, deploring the fact that social issues such as rape are reported in a sensational manner that have eyeballs rolling. And, why? Because people love yellow journalism even as the underlying reasons for these occurrences and how they can be addressed so as to make society change for the better are not dwelt upon.

Carol opined that when priests and nuns send their grievances to the Press, these are not published, and where they are, the write-up in question is shortened and relegated to an obscure column. She felt that the only way to surmount this problem was by pestering the publication concerned with phone calls and emails. She pointed out that perhaps, given the reluctance of the press to publish religious issues, articles on social issues could be sent.

Sister Joeyanna D’Souza, fsp, Manager IP Team, Daughters of Saint Paul, Bandra, speaking on Media and Religious Life, highlighted the importance of communication in order to spread the Word. The statistics she gave showed the volume of use the social media is put to in service of the Gospel and how much needs to be done on the part of the religious to maximize its use. Appropriately, she emphasized the need for imparting communication skills to religious.

Father Nigel Barrett, Director, Bombay Archdiocesan Catholic Communications Centre, speaking on the Media in relation to the Word and the World, touched on the excellence of Jesus as a communicator who could talk on the same wavelength with the educated and the uneducated alike! He said that as Christians we are called to be communicators as well, optimally using the media in order to spread the message of Jesus. Father Nigel’s PPT presentation demonstrated the use of modern methods of communication in being ‘e-messengers’ who use the electronic media in order to proclaim the good news through the written word and ‘e-curators’ who could copy-paste relevant articles and messages and send them on to others. For instance, we could circulate messages of Pope Francis via email or facebook and twitter accounts.

Point out the usefulness of e-media when communicating with our youth, he informed the gathering of the formation of a group of “What’s Ap” users whom he intimates as regards any important events taking place and who in turn send the message across to their respective circles.

Father Nigel also urged caution and discreetness as regards sending messages to the Press so as not to create issues for the Church. For instance, he says he is careful to toe the line in his official capacity but does feel free to express his personal views which may be different.

As a result of the general discussions and exchange of ideas that followed, a priest-participant suggested that we look at the possibility of conducting Catechism classes through Skype, suggesting that the matter to be studied could be emailed to the youth concerned. Father Nigel responded by saying that while the electronic media could be used to some extent, it cannot replace face-to-face communication in terms of catechesis.

The Symposium, which commenced with a dance essay of the Canticle in Praise of the Media by Sister Silvia, fsp, at 4.30 pm concluded at 6.30 pm with a tie-up of the main points of the deliberations by Mrs Virginia Saldanha, the Vote of Thanks by Sister Rosily, and refreshments.

– fwd: ladislaus d’souza

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