To always profess the truth of God without compromises is one of the pointers shared by the head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Social Communications (CBCP) during the Closing Mass of the 4th National Media Convention (NMC 2018) held at the Mergrande Ocean Resort, Davao City last August 9, 2018.
“When we evangelize and come face to face with modern icons and false idols that lure people away from God, it is really crucial that, given our learnings and teachings of the Church, we have to profess the truth of God,” urged the Most Rev. Mylo Hubert Vergara, D.D.
Reflecting on the Mass Readings, he cited the story of the Israelites, a stubborn race of sinners. He pointed out, “Look at how God treated them. After all their sins, what mattered for Him was forgiveness, His compassion.”
“And I think this is where we realize the foundation of any Social Communications Ministry–(it) is the practice of God’s compassionate love in whatever we do,” he stressed, “in whatever human situation that we talk about and dispense in our own proclamation of news”
Bishop Mylo, however, said that the tasks of a Social Communications practitioner or minister will never be easy. Citing the mass readings once more, he quoted the words of Jesus when He confronted Peter, and that we have “to participate in the cross of Christ.”
“In our ministry, we will always be face to face with the Paschal Mystery,” he said.
“It will be treading rough roads, thorny paths, and you’re before outside forces and you know when you wrestle with these forces, it seems you are a lone ranger and it seems you will not triumph,” he added.
He pointed out that there will be times when you want to give up as you work on a low or even zero and negative budget, thus experiencing a difficulty to sustain the ministry. There is a need for creative thinking, he quipped, to fulfill tasks at hand.
“But that is only one part of your own participation in the Paschal Mystery, in the cross of Christ,” he explained. “Look at the milieu we are at, are we still a voice listened to today?”
This question, he said, should be asked as it proves to be the greatest challenge for today’s Catholic Communicators.
Wrapping up, he said that Social Communications practitioners become authentic proclaimers of the Good News when they do these three things in their service to the Church: “They practice compassionate love; they profess the truth of God; and participate in the cross of Christ.”
“These are pointers that we can hold on as we go back to our Social Communications Ministries, in our Dioceses, or our Religious Congregations. This is still in line with the message of Pope Francis, given the challenge to combat fake news and become journalists of peace,” he ended.
There were about two hundred participants to this year’s NMC, which is a four-day gathering of Social Communicators and Media practitioners from the different Dioceses of the Country. This year’s host was the Archdiocese of Davao and as such the theme, Ako ni,bai (It is I). Previously, NMC was hosted by the Archdiocese of Cebu (2017), Diocese of Imus (2016), and Archdiocese of Manila (2015). (~Lulu Reclusado-Nario)