LAHAD DATU – Dalius Lobinjang, chairman of St Mary’s Cathedral Parish Social Communication Ministry, Sandakan was appointed to helm the Sandakan Diocesan Social Communication Commission (SOCCOM) for a two-year term, 2016-18. Thirteen other nominated members representing the four parishes were officially appointed to sit in the commission for the said term.
The two-day inaugural meeting and formation session, which was held at St Dominic’s Church here over the weekend of 23-24 Apr 2016, was presided by Bishop Julius Gitom. In his welcoming speech, the prelate expressed his gratitude to SOCCOM members who had worked very hard. The many articles posted in the blog and later published in the Catholic Sabah and Herald was a clear sign of the members’ labor.
Such enormous work to communicate God’s word through mass media is only possible “if we journey as a team inspired by God. Continue the communication work set by God that we may fulfill His command as in Matthew 28:19-20, to ‘go and make disciples of all nations,’” urged the prelate.
Each parish social communications committee then reported on the development and progress of their ministry for the past two years, involving related activities especially on news coverage of church events.
The first formation session, which was facilitated by outgoing chairperson of the Commission Monica Lo, focused on the Pope’s message for World Communications Day 2016, themed ‘Communication and Mercy: A Fruitful Encounter’. Members spent some time reflecting on it and then shared their opinion on the gist of the message.
The incoming Commission chairman Dalius Lobinjang hoped that each parish would endeavour to draw up a programme in conjunction with WCD to be celebrated on May 8. He proposed that the video clip on World Communications Day 2016, which was produced by the Regional Commission of Social Communication, to be shown before the final blessing of the Mass. The sample poster should be printed and displayed at the church entrance adjacent to the Holy Door of Mercy. He also challenged each parish to create a short video clip based on the theme of “Mercy” to be shown during the upcoming 9th Diocesan Anniversary in Sandakan.
Members were blessed during the Sunday Mass, which was presided by Fr Simon Kontou. The incoming members of the Diocesan SOCCOM took their pledge before the presider, witnessed by the congregation. Fr Simon called upon the newly installed SOCCOM members to always remember to write on events based on facts and truth, nothing but the truth.
After the Eucharistic celebration, Rogena and Airene of Sandakan shared on “Beyond the lens.” Four participants from the Diocese of Sandakan attended the five-day workshop, jointly organised by Fondacio and Signis in Kuala Lumpur in October last year. They presented a video clip produced during their field trip, which was inspirational. They hoped that an echo programme could be held at diocesan level to train more young people to be involved in other means of effective communication.
The last session, which was facilitated by Francis Tan, touched on the importance and virtues of the Catholic printed press. He gave an analysis on the three main printed press: Today’s Catholic from Sarawak, Catholic Sabah, and Herald from West Malaysia, regarding the frequency and volume of production per issue. Apart from that, members had the opportunity to know the number of copies of the printed press ordered by each parish. Circulation for each parish is considered low. Members were challenged to ponder on the issue and find ways to rise to the challenge to increase circulation and readership. Members were also asked to discern on finding ways to attract more young people to be involved in writing news. Currently, the diocese has only a handful of committed writers.
At the end of the session, Dalius presented to each parish a 1 terabyte external hard disk as an appreciation for their commitment and continuous support. – DOSPO, Rogena RS
PENAMPANG – Eight members of the Kota Kinabalu Archdiocesan Social Communications Commission (SOCCOM) discussed briefly on their scope of work in key areas at their inaugural meeting on 5 March 2016. The meeting was held at the Catholic Archdiocesan Centre here.
The commission is composed of both old and new members. Archbishop John Wong appointed Datuk Joseph Leong to head the commission for term 2016-2018 in January 2016. The new members are Claudina Wong, Jenney Juanis, Ruben Sario and Sr Anna Yap fsp while the old members are Irene Obon, Gideon Abel, Patricia Regis and Father Thomas Madanan who remains the Spiritual Adviser. In attendance was Agnes Chai, associate editor of Catholic Sabah.
At the start of the meeting, Fr Madanan conveyed the greetings of Abp Wong to the commission and his call to them to work together as a team and with the other commissions in order to realise the archdiocesan vision and mission.
There was brief handing over ceremony from outgoing head Irene Obon to the new head Joseph Leong. Afterwards, the new head called the meeting to order. There was a brief discussion on the team line-up and scope of work: Publications (Leong), Publicity/Training (Sario), Liaison with Catholic Sabah (Juanis), Website/Secretary (Yap), Liaison with Parishes (Abel), Events (Obon), Documentation/Research (Regis), and Website/Videos &Graphics (Wong).
An item of interest was the proposed outline of the six-week Jubilee Year of Mercy (YOM) Programme tentatively scheduled from August 16 to September 20 at the Sacred Heart Cathedral. Themed What “Mercy” Means to Me and My Family, the programme aims to help parishioners to gain knowledge and understanding on the true meaning and purpose of the YOM on the personal and family levels.
The commission agreed to have their next meeting on 9 April 2016 at the same venue.
"The Internet is relevant to many activities and programmes of the Church— evangelisation, including both re-evangelisation and new evangelisation and the traditional missionary work ad gentes, catechesis and other kinds of education, news and information, apologetics, governance and administration, and some forms of pastoral counseling and spiritual direction." (Pontifical Council for Social Communication, Church and Internet, 2002)