Bishop Challenges Catholic Media To Be Communicators of Mercy

The Most Rev. Mylo Hubert Vergara during the 2nd National Media Convention

“Our identity is born out of the Mercy of God, so our communication is…done not out of hatred but love,” said the Most Rev. Mylo Hubert C. Vergara, D.D., Bishop of Pasig and Head of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Social Communications (CBCP-ECSC), during his Keynote Address in the 2nd National Media Convention held in Angels Hills Retreat and Formation Center, Tagaytay City.

Working on the theme, “Communication and Mercy: A Fruitful Encounter”, Bishop Mylo highlighted “Identity, Possibility, and Creativity” as important points to become “relevant as a Church, especially with the challenges confronting us”.

“As human beings and Christians, we are Imago Dei--made in the Image and Likeness of God and we are children of the Father, belonging to God’s family by virtue of Baptism,” he added, “What is the reason for this? I can think of only one thing: God’s Mercy!”

The bishop went on to discuss the etymology of the Word “Mercy”. He said “Mercy” is Hesed in Hebrew, which means “steadfast love” or “an act done of one for another” while Misericordia in Latin or having “a heart beating for others”. Therefore, he hopes that the Convention will help its 180 participants from all various Church Media in the Country to “seriously recognize” their identity “as communicators of God’s Mercy”.

Mr. Sean Patrick Lovett during the National Media Convention 2016

Echoing the bishop’s challenge, Main Speaker of the National Media Convention 2016 and Vatican Radio’s Director of English Language Sean Patrick Lovett delved on the importance of knowing one’s identity to be able to answer the “call of the times” just as prophets of the Bible did.

He said that we need “to be the prophetic voice of God…In order to be prophetic, you are willing to know your identity…Creativity comes from God. We are made in His image and likeness. Therefore, every time we create, we reflect His image.”

“Our fears get in the way of our communicating to others,” Mr. Lovett continued, “(yet) possibilities are made of choices…Once you have made the choice, you should have the courage to execute it. (While) the point of having the courage to choose is change. (But) we can only make a change if we embrace the choice.”

He then expressed his admiration of the participants during the Convention by saying, “You in Catholic Media in the Philippines are models in the World because of your willingness to experiment…(because) of your creativity.”

The 2nd National Media Convention is an annual gathering of Catholic Media Practitioners and of Social Communications and Media teams from the archdioceses and dioceses in the country for updating on trends and know-how. The 1st National Convention was held in Pius XII Catholic Center, Manila last August 11-13, 2015.

The SocComm Nova Delegation with Mr. Sean Patrick Lovett

Representing the Diocese of Novaliches in this year’s convention were its Social Communications and Media Ministry (SocComm Nova) Director Rev. Fr. Ambrosio Nonato Legaspi, Lay Coordinator Minnie De Luna, and Core Group Members Julius Panday and Christopher Segundo. While the Christ The King Parish of Filinvest 2’s Media Ministry Team Coordinators Angelo Reyes and Roel De Vera together with Josephine Barbin were the companions of Fr. Legaspi during the first convention.

SocComm Nova hopes to bring a bigger delegation–comprised of the Core Group and select Parish Media Ministry Coordinators–for #NMC2017 that was announced by Bishop Mylo as a week-long activity in Cebu come mid-2017.

Bishop Mylo and Mr. Lovett, together with St. Pauls, will be attending the upcoming Convention of Catholic Media Practitioners in Asia. They will be bringing with them the sharings and consensus of the National Media Convention 2016 attendees on the questions: (1) How can Church Media cooperate together?; (2) What medium/platform should the Church be investing in?; (3) What are the skills that Catholic communicators lack most?; (4) How can the Church in the Philippines have an affective Media presence? (~Minnie De Luna)