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KOTA KINABALU – “What is communication? Does it derive from a feeling or a thought?” Catholic Media Network (CMN) President Fr Francis Lucas directed the question to 90 participants during a media workshop in Kota Kinabalu recently.
The workshop featured dynamic talks of Fr Lucas, who helms the Catholic Media Network in the Philippines, composing of about 60 radio stations throughout the country. An incardinated priest from the prelature of Infanta, he devoted most of his 40 years in his priesthood evangelizing and advocating for environmental, economic and agricultural development through media. He is an active media practitioner as a news anchor in the nationwide radio program “CMN Veritas Philippines” and co-anchor in “The Forum”, a weekly media forum.
For the first ever media workshop organized by the Light of Jesus Christ Covenant Community in the Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish, more than 90 participants from Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan and Kuala Lumpur converged from May 1-3 to discuss and promote an understanding of how media work, how media affect our lives, and how to use media wisely.
When asked about the objective of the workshop, Fr Lucas underscored that it is meant to educate and advocate all Catholics to use social communications and media in a more organized way.
With the use of powerful images and sound effects, as well as his personal experiences, he explained the meaning of social communications today, the social media and the Catholic Church, the challenges of social media to Catholics today, in the light of the New Evangelization promoted by Pope Francis.
He stressed that communications is about sharing and helping people find answers to their search for meaning in life, the right direction, making right choices and knowing their convictions and faith.
He went on to explore the power of media today, the affective use of media, the internet culture, the influence of media as an evangelistic tool, and why social media.
Drawing from the popular belief that media is bad, he highlighted that media is actually neither good nor bad. It is just a means to communicate. Media could be defined as an amplification of bits and pieces of reality. It becomes bad when the world amplified more negative posts than positive posts. Therefore as responsible Catholic Christians, it is our responsibility to do our part to counteract by amplifying the good. There just isn’t enough good being amplified to make media a good thing. Media, after all, is God’s gift to humanity. Pope Francis sees it and gets into it.
Going further, he emphasized that communications is the apostolate of all Catholics, like it or not, whether virtually, verbally, emotionally, physically or spiritually; for Jesus is the perfect communicator of His Father “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt amongst us.” (John 1:14)
Coming from experience, he however advised seeking the help of the Holy Spirit when faced with challenges brought about by or enhanced by media communications.
On the final day, as a conclusion to the workshop, Fr Lucas proposed that the respective groups should make plans to embark on a media platform that would serve the Church’s evangelistic needs. He suggested a two-prong approach: 1) the need to assess our resources (the interest, skills, talents of the young people); 2) to gather and empower the resources.
The organizer of the event, Presiding Elder of the Light of Jesus Christ Covenant Community, Anthony Lim sees it as an opportune time, coupled with the availability of Fr Lucas, to provide guidelines and prepare Catholics, particularly the net generation living in “an age of global communication”, for the rapid development in social communications, in a way that is in accordance with God and the thinking and approach of the Church towards the New Evangelization.