PAPAR – At the 15th meeting of the Regional Commission for Social Communications (RCSC) at Pace Bene, Purak, Papar Jun 17-20, Bishop Cornelius Sim of Vicariate Brunei Darussalam, President of the Episcopal Commission for Social Communications for the Catholic Bishops Conference of Malaysia-Singapore-Brunei told the meeting that while the tools of communications are necessary, on their own they are insufficient. Besides the hardware, we should not forget the “people” aspect, an equally important factor of social communications. He also underscored that it was very critical to exercise care in the way we respond to youth as we enter their world.
In the earlier part of the meeting he called on the heads of the Social Communications Commissions and their representatives to verbally report on how each diocese celebrated World Communications Day, stressing that up to now Catholics have been required to do the “bare minimum” of celebrating the Mass with a homily touching on the pope’s WCD message and prayer of the faithful for all media practitioners and church communicators and supporting Catholic media. WCD, being the only worldwide celebration of the universal church, is generally observed on the Seventh Sunday of Easter. “Social Communications will improve the fruits of all other ministries when properly instituted,” he added.
This year being the election year for new office bearers for RCSC, it was an important item on the meeting’s agenda. However, due to the lack of quorum with only two-thirds representation at the meeting, it was decided to conduct “on line voting”. The Internet makes it possible for on-line voting procedures. The RCSC should be able to announce its new officer bearers within a week.
The heads of commissions then reported other activities in their respective arch/dioceses in the past year. The meeting also established a simple communications structure through which members could keep in touch seeing how important it was to update each other on their activities. While the three countries of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei have their own projects, these were very much “bits and pieces” like drops in the ocean, Sim observed. While wishing to do more, one cannot merely wait until “things got together” to begin something. Perhaps a “joint venture” would bring the RCSC to another level.
A “pilgrimage-study day” followed the whole of Jun 19 with visits to Holy Rosary Church, Limbahau, stopping by Papar Marketplace, the Railway Bridge, St Patrick’s Church at Kinuta which, established 125 years ago, could claim to be amongst the oldest Roman Catholic Mission in North Borneo. The group then visited the Montfort Youth Training Centre in Kinarut, managed by the Brothers of Saint Gabriel, and ended with a relaxing time at Seaside Travellers Inn, Kinarut Laut, before heading back to their temporary abode at Pace Bene.
On the evening of the 17th, after a welcome dinner, the RCSC meeting kicked off with a critical review of two short documentaries, “Change for a Dollar”, and “The Butterfly Circus”, acclaimed for their universal appeal and universal truths that cut across religious boundaries. This could be viewed as yet another communications tool/concept for Social Communication Communicators to reach out and apply in their communications work.
Also represented at the meeting were members of Signis Malaysia, Karen Arukesamy and Adeline James, Vice President Signis World, Lawrence John and the Daughters of St Paul, Sr Rosalie Lojiu. Office bearers for the term included chairman of RCSC Fr Robert Leong, and RCSC secretary Terrence Ngui, heads of commissions/representatives: Lawrence Matusin of Sandakan Diocese, Clement Josos of Melaka-Johore, Clement Ajik of Diocese of Keningau, Brother Pius of Diocese of Penang, and Irene Obon and Fr Thomas Madanan from the Diocese of Kota Kinabalu. The three observers from the Kota Kinabalu Social Communications Commission were: Cecilia Tan, Patricia Regis and Gideon Abel.
The Regional Commission of Social Communications meeting was hosted by the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu. The meeting closed with a Mass on the morning of the 20th, presided by Archbishop John Wong.
The next RCSC meeting will be held be held in Penang, Jun 16-19, 2015 tentatively. Brother Pius has been tasked to seek the approval of his diocese and to organize the meeting.- Irene Obon