Communication is a means of expressing the missionary vocation of the entire Church; today the social networks are one way to experience this call to discover the beauty of faith, the beauty of encountering Christ. In the area of communications, too, we need a Church capable of bringing warmth and of stirring hearts. (Pope Francis, 48th World Communications Day, 2014)
We invite you to come to the 2017 Parish Communication Workshop exclusively for clergy, parish staff and volunteers who are currently maintaining parish communication, both offline and online. This year’s focus will be on social media as it has fundamentally changed how people communicate nowadays. As Catholics, we need to bring the Church’s teachings into what Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI called the “digital continent.”
Our guest speaker this year are Fr. Thomas Rosica, the CEO of Salt & Light TV and Lincoln Ho (Social Media specialist from Archdiocese of Edmonton).
- Date: Monday, November 13, 2017 | From 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
At the Catholic Pastoral Centre (120-17th Ave SW, Calgary)
- Parking: Please park at the FCJ Centre parkade (219-19th Ave SW) or St. Mary's Cathedral Parkade.
- Note that schedule is subject to change without notice.
- 08:00 - 08:30 Registration
08:30 - 09:15 Prayer & Greetings (Bishop William McGrattan)
09:30 - 10:15 Keynote address (Fr. Thomas Rosica)
10:30 - 11:15 The Epic Guide to Social Media 101 (Lincoln Ho)
11:15 - 12:15 Breakout Sessions A, B, C, D (see below)
12:15 - 13:15 Lunch
13:15 - 14:00 Breakout Sessions A, B, C, D (see below)
14:00 - 14:10 Break
14:10 - 16:00 Putting into Practice & Intro to Diocesan Best Practices and Social Media Policy
- Keynote address: COMMUNICATIONS AND MERCY (Fr. Thomas Rosica)
Be inspired by Pope Francis, who yearns for the church to be an instrument of reconciliation and welcome, a church capable of warming hearts, a church that is not bent over on herself but always seeking those on the periphery and those who are lost, a church capable of leading people home. Pope Francis has indeed rebranded Catholicsm. How do we follow in his footsteps?
- General Session: THE EPIC GUIDE TO SOCIAL MEDIA 101 (Lincoln Ho)
- Breakout Sessions:
- 1. OVER HERE!! I’M WRITING IN BOLD!!: Writing for Social Media (Lincoln Ho)
The digital revolution has created a sense of fear to text posts, blogs, and traditional journalism. When text is the least popular medium, how do we create content to draw the audience to the ultimate Word?
- 2. MAKE IMPRESSIONS MEMORABLE: Branding and Consistencies (Fr. Wilbert Chin Jon)
What is your parish all about, and why is that a big deal? How are you different from the rest? How will you show this on social media every time, and at a glance? How do you make impressions memorable? It’s all about branding! Know who you are and flaunt it. Learn how.
- 3. SOCIAL MEDIA VIDEO ON A BUDGET: Videography Tools for a Beginner (Ryan Factura)
Video is the king of content on social media. As a parish, how are you able to jump on this trend without having expensive camera equipment? In this workshop, we'll show you how you can get started with social video using the camera you already have in your hand: your smartphone!
- 4. NO PHOTOSHOP, NO PROBLEM: Graphic Tools for Parish Communication (Lia O'Hara)
Not a graphic designer? No access to Photoshop? No problem! The internet comes to the rescue. Learn how to make great looking posters, bulletin and social media graphics in a matter of minutes. Get to know easy-to-use graphical tools online and other resources that will help you deliver quality imagery while saving time and money.
- This workshop is only available for Parish Staff, Communications staff and/or volunteers, and those who are currently managing the bulletin and/or their parish online presence.
- Limit to only 4 participants per parish. Limited seats.
- Please register each person separately. Choose one AM breakout session and one PM breakout session.
- Lunch will be provided. If you have strict dietary restrictions, kindly bring your bagged lunch from home.
- REGISTER ONLINE HERE
Every year in October we are invited to publicly demonstrate our pro-life values. On the first Sunday of the month we celebrate Respect Life Sunday. In some areas in the Diocese, including Calgary, we have the opportunity to participate in the “Life Chain” where people stand on both sides of a busy street holding pro-life signs. Throughout the month we are particularly encouraged to pray for the safety of the unborn and for their mothers. We also pray for those who contemplate assisted suicide and for their doctors that they may have a change of heart and honour life from conception until natural death. At the same time we pray for doctors who do not want to participate in the killing of others, that they may not be forced to take part in such acts; and we pray for those who had or were involved in an abortion, that they may find healing and reconciliation.
Being pro-life means advocating for the protection of all human life. The teaching of pro-life values begins at a very early age. Parents are most influential when it comes to preventing their young children from making harmful and morally wrong choices. Focusing on the value of human life, no child is too young to understand that they are loved. Kisses, hugs, words of encouragement and affirmation are perfect ways to make a child feel loved and special. As the child gets older parents can explain the value of human life by pointing out the differences in people’s appearances and telling them that each person is unique and special. Then there comes a day when a child asks the question, “Where do babies come from?” In today’s society, parents expect this question to be asked by their young children, but when it is actually presented to them they often feel put on the spot and struggle with the appropriate answer. Luckily, there are a number of good books available to children and their parents that can be of helpful assistance.
Here are two books for pre-school to third grade children.
Both are available at many libraries and bookstores:
- Horton Hears a Who! by Dr. Seuss: It tells the story of Horton, the kind-hearted elephant who rescues the citizens of Whoville. Horton’s philosophy is “a person’s a person no matter how small.” It is a gentle lead into the humanity and dignity of the unborn.
- Before You Were Born by Jennifer Davis: It is short and easy to understand for children of preschool age to third grade and includes a simple approach to the unborn baby’s development. There are interactive pages that children can peek into and look at.
Some suggested family pro-life activities:
- Look for books similar to the ones mentioned above (for smaller children and for older children and youth).
- Participate in the pro-life awareness and fund raising activities in your area.
- Arrange for a visit to a family member or to a family from your church that has a newborn baby.
- Take the children to visit people in a home for seniors. Contact your parish if you don’t know how to go about it.
- Collect and donate funds to Elizabeth House, the home for the less fortunate young women and their babies supported by the Calgary Diocese.
- Discuss the cycle of life with your older children and teenagers.
- Add your own pro-life activities to the list.
Heavenly Father, the beauty and dignity of human life
was the crowning of your creation.
Help us to realize the sacredness of human life
and to respect it from the moment of conception
until the last moment of life.
Give us courage to speak out in defense of life.
Help us to extend the gentle hand of mercy
and forgiveness to those who do not
reverence this precious gift.
We ask this in Jesus’ Name.
Many Catholic bloggers commented on Pope Francis’s participation in commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. While some were positive, others were perplexed at the pope’s initiative. In his address to participants in a March 2017 meeting themed, Luther: 500 Years Later, Pope Francis acknowledged his own surprise that an Office of the Holy See had convened Catholics and Lutherans to discuss Luther. After all, Pope Francis explained, “not long ago a meeting like this would have been unthinkable.”
Why would the pope commemorate the Reformation, the consequence of which was greater division among Christians and the separation of Protestants from communion with Rome? This was a question on many minds. The Protestant Reformation involved controversies over such topics as: indulgences; the authority of scripture; and the doctrine of justification to name only a few.
Keen to promote reconciliation and peace, Pope Francis, at a prayer service in Sweden, reflected: “We too must look with love and honesty at our past, recognizing error and seeking forgiveness, for God alone is our judge. We ought to recognize with the same honesty and love that our division distanced us from the primordial intuition of God’s people, who naturally yearn to be one, and that it was perpetuated historically by the powerful of this world rather than the faithful people, which always and everywhere needs to be guided surely and lovingly by its Good Shepherd.”
The Vatican has also published an important and ecumenically groundbreaking document entitled, From Conflict to Communion: Lutheran-Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017. This document is available on the Vatican website and is recommended reading for anyone seeking to learn more about Martin Luther, the Reformation, and the key theological debates in the light of the response offered by the Catholic Church.
You can also learn more by studying the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism. Finally, if you would like to engage in this ecumenical dialogue concretely, join us as we gather with Bishop McGrattan and other bishops representing the Anglican and Lutheran denominations, to pray together for better Christian cooperation as we commemorate 500 years since the Reformation in our own diocese on Sunday October 29. Please see Diocesan Dates on page 21 for the details.
Beginning last September, Pope Francis designated September as the Season of Creation. This expands the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation that started in 2015. Joining a movement created by our Lutheran brothers and sisters in 2000, the Church now celebrates this month as a time to contemplate our care of creation and to celebrate its wonders.
With these thoughts, we consider Thanksgiving during this month of October. As we hear the increasingly alarming news of natural disasters around the world, and we try to respond however we can, the bigger questions are inevitably asked. How do we respond to the needs around us? Are the acts of nature this year worse than previous years? If so, why? And what can I, as one single person, do to make a difference amongst all the big, global, issues that follow?
Cardinal Peter Turkson, the President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, gave us six points to ponder as we decide how to engage with our environment on a personal level:
- All human beings are affected, and everything in nature too, by the crises of climate change, misuse of natural resources, waste and pollution, and attendant poverty and dislocation.
- Everything is interconnected; we cannot understand the social or natural world or their parts in isolation.
- Everyone must act responsibly to save our world – from individuals who recycle and use energy sparingly, to enterprises reducing their ecological footprints, to world leaders setting and enforcing ambitious targets to reduce the use of carbon.
- We must be truthful; let no one hide or distort facts in order to gain selfish advantage.
- We must engage in constructive dialogue; genuine, trusting and trustworthy engagement of all parties is required to succeed where all is at risk.
- Beyond the industrial age’s short-sighted confidence in technology and finance, we must transcend ourselves in prayer, simplicity and solidarity.
And so, the adage of “reduce, reuse, recycle” comes to mind as a follow up to these points of conversation. But, as Cardinal Turkson mentions, nothing happens in isolation. The care of creation is not just about the earth, but also about its inhabitants. We especially, as human beings, have the biggest impact on our home. By caring for each other as individuals, we can create an upswell of attitude change that will impact the broader world and thus, decisions that impact the environment and our earth. Out of thankfulness for our blessings, we must look for ways to bless each other Here are some examples to consider:
- Do you like to comment on social media? Do you enjoy the anonymity of sharing your thoughts on the Internet without care for how they may impact who or what you are commenting on? In a world where social media rants and comments are the latest form of bullying, it is a virtue to show care and intention for what you say, how you say and where you say your opinions.
- Is there a family in your parish who comes to Mass looking a little worse for wear? Do you ponder why they can’t dress up and why their child is particularly disruptive? Maybe the clothes are their best, and maybe that child did not have enough to eat for breakfast and is acting out of hunger. Perhaps ask your pastor if they need help. Can you donate a grocery store gift card to them?
- Do you know a woman who recently suffered a miscarriage and you don’t know what to say? Just tell her you love her; and that you’re sorry it happened. Those words will be a healing balm to her soul.
In the hustle and bustle of juggling work, life, money, kids, marriage and our faith, we often lose sight of those that are most precious: the people around us. So let us make the time to think of ways to reduce our anger, judgement and condescension; reuse words of kindness, over and over, in as many situations as possible; and recycle our negativity into positivity and spread it around by offering a smile to the stranger on the street or by letting the car beside us ease in front of us, so the driver does not have to wait longer to merge into our lane.
Spreading joy and happiness gives the recipients room to contemplate other things. Those “other things” might simply include: considering how to make their home more environmentally friendly; seeing trash on the ground and having the patience to pick it up; or finding a reservoir of energy to ride their bike to the corner store instead of driving. If we can’t do the basics of caring for each other, how can we do the bigger job of caring for creation?
Let’s all try to see how big of a ripple we can create, and we might be surprised at the change it brings forth in each one of us too!