Felix Anthony –
Bangalore: The Church’s Public Relations (PR) ministry is not about sensationalism at the expense of accuracy, Bangalore Archbishop Peter Machado said at a PR training program organized by the Media Apostolate in association with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CCBI). SIGNIS India is here at Paalana Bhawan on 25-27 October 2022.
“The Church is a public body and therefore its relationship with others is important,” said Archbishop Machado. “As a special service of the Church, it must be honest, reliable, transparent and accessible.”
Addressing 62 PROs from across the country, the Archbishop said, “Our PR ministry must be in the interest of the community. He should have a Bible in one hand and newspapers in the other.”
The three-day training included Christian media professionals and communication leaders from dioceses and religious communities, generals, priests, women religious and lay people.
“As professionals in the church, our job is not only to speak, but to listen to people’s voices so that we can better solve problems,” Machado said.
Addressing the participants, CCBI Deputy General Secretary Father Stephen Alatara said: “To be a good church public relations officer, we must first have a good relationship with Jesus. Thus, the church’s PR ministry is different and unique .
Aiming to improve the public relations skills of the participants, the resource team of the training included Father Stanley Kojichira, President of SIGNIS Asia, Father Babu Joseph, former Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, Varghese Joseph, Editor of Catholic Affairs India, Bansi. Kalapppa of Indian Express, Advocate Joseph Anil Kumar, Kantharaj, PRO of Bangalore Archdiocese, Father Cyril Victor, Nolan Pinto and Juby Thomas.
Participants praised the training content, which included key points about mock press conferences and useful social media plugins. “This is the first time I am participating in this kind of training and it has opened my eyes to the important role of the PR office,” said Sister Bethany, Jyoti Mary, a lawyer working in the legal department of the Archdiocese of Bangalore. “The training was very helpful and made me realize the power of social media,” said Sister Genova, media coordinator for the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph.
The training included topics such as the current scenario of PR in the church, what and why PR service, church image building, crisis management, press conference, press release, legal perspectives of crisis management, media monitoring, etc. research and strategy for future PR ministry.
The great success of the program was that the training brought together many PR professionals of the Church from all over the country and listening to the various challenges and crises in the Indian Church and how the PR team dealt with them gave us new insights. to meet the challenges ahead, said Father Joshan Rodrigues, editor-in-chief of the Archdiocese of Bombay’s Examiner.