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Catholic Communication Campaign helps the church evangelize

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WASHINGTON — Catholic communications in all forms — print, digital, broadcast, social media — are essential to informing the Catholic faithful about the Catholic Church, two church communicators said.

"Now more than ever, when there's such a barrage of secular news, how does a Catholic sort out the church's position?" said Mary Ross Agosta, communications director for the Archdiocese of Miami. "We cannot depend on the secular press to tell our story. We need to be in that game, the media business, to tell our story, our teachings and our traditions."

Billy Atwell, chief communications officer in the Office of Communications in the Diocese of Arlington, echoed that view.

"When you look around and read the news, there are a lot of things to be concerned about," he said.

But the Catholic Church's values are not "the values of the culture" and “are not reported well in the secular press," Atwell said. Church communication in all its forms is the "primary vehicle for taking our voice as individuals and the church" and tell "the good stories within a diocese and make them known to more people."

Support for Catholic communications comes from U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Catholic Communication Campaign. The annual collection to support the CCC will be taken at Masses June 1 and 2, which is World Communications Day.

“We have this collection every year to help with the communications efforts of the diocese and also the work of the church in the United States,” said Bishop Michael F. Burbidge in his most recent “Walk Humbly” podcast.

“We benefit directly from this collection. We’re recording right now in a brand-new studio where we record our podcasts, our videos and the WTOP radio spots because of the generosity of this collection,” he said.

“It helps us to follow that mandate of proclaiming the Good News to all people,” said Bishop Burbidge, who is chairman of the USCCB Committee on Communications. “If people are able, I would certainly appreciate their generosity with this collection.”

"The mission to proclaim the Gospel, entrusted by Jesus to the apostles, has been carried to us today through our baptism. We continue to share the good news and help one another encounter Christ through all available means — whether it be through the internet, radio, television or another form of communication,” said Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer of Savannah, Ga., chairman of the USCCB Committee on Communications' Subcommittee on the Catholic Communication Campaign

He made the comments in a statement encouraging U.S. Catholics to help with this mission by giving to the CCC collection. The subcommittee oversees the collection and an annual CCC grants program.

Fifty percent of funds collected for the CCC remain in each diocese to support local communications efforts. The other half is used to support national projects in the United States and in developing countries around the world.

On the national level, the CCC supports the production of daily video Scripture reflections featured on the USCCB website that are viewed daily by millions of people and a YouTube channel that has 23,000 subscribers. The USCCB’s website — usccb.org — is itself supported by the CCC; it served 17.5 million users last year.

Atwell said the diocesan communications department "really strives" to use a lot of digital media in addition to traditional print, the Arlington Catholic Herald, "to evangelize and spread the Gospel. We use the CCC as a way to really chart new paths forward to achieve those goals."

Having the new studio has helped broaden the diocese's evangelization efforts, Atwell said. The diocese wants to use whatever tools it can "to reach the broadest possible audience," he added.

Other CCC-funded media efforts include the diocese's #LoveOurMothers social media campaign leading up to Mother's Day this year and celebrating May as the month of Mary. It featured four especially heroic mothers who have relied on or used diocesan and Catholic Charities programs.

In the Archdiocese of Miami, CCC funds make possible a variety of projects, according to Ross Agosta, including a 30-minute Spanish Mass her office produces and airs for the homebound. Funding covers the cost of an outside video team that films the Mass in a small mission church of the archdiocese. She added the Mass project also benefits from "a great partnership with Univision," the Spanish-language TV network.

Funds from the CCC collection help support the archdiocesan website as well as provide social media training for pastors and assist the archdiocese in producing its two newspapers — the English language Florida Catholic and Spanish-language La Voz Catolica.

Ross Agosta said both newspapers are vital to keeping all Catholics of the archdiocese informed, adding that La Voz Catolica does not carry just translations of English stories but has coverage of special interest to the Spanish-speaking community. The three-county archdiocese, with a general population of more than 4.7 million, is home to many Spanish-speaking immigrants, she noted.

"We're very blessed that people are extremely generous" to the CCC, Ross Agosta added.

Find out more

For more about the CCC go to usccb.org/ccc.




© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019