By Renée Smith, email@example.com
Over the past year ministries of the archdiocese have been acknowledging the call of the Bishops of the Antilles Episcopal Conference by embarking on a goal to unify their communication tools and engaging in a common mission of collaboration.
Calling the process an Integrated Pastoral Communications Plan (IPCP), it operates at two levels: locally in each diocese of the region, and regionally—each diocese working together with others in the AEC region.
Within the Archdiocese of Port of Spain, the IPCP team has made strides in fulfilling this new pastoral model. In 2017, archdiocesan ministries (family life, social justice, catechetics, communications, evangelisation, etc) began working on a pilot project which focused on a specific priority of the archdiocese.
“Return to Hospitality” was the chosen priority, inspired by Archbishop Joseph Harris’ 2017 pastoral letter. They then implemented a cooperative exercise to share the message of hospitality to Catholics and the wider public.
Their first approach was jumpstarted by the hurricane devastation which took place in the Caribbean last September. The IPCP team wanted to engage the public by addressing the “hospitality of Trinbagonians” towards persons affected by the hurricane.
They executed this idea by sharing Facebook posts, calling to mind questions such as “How well do we in T&T respond to victims of natural disasters?” and “How well do we respond to persons at our doorstep?”.
The posts included a hospitality logo designed by the IPCP team and was shared by ministries and members of IPCP.
The ministries also engaged in sub-projects under the hospitality theme. The following are highlights of some of the projects:
The Catholic Education Board of Management (CEBM) sent out a request to Catholic schools last year asking them to undertake projects in hospitality during the year. Principals were given reminders during regular visits by Vicariate Managers and again in the termly meetings of principals. Twenty-three schools undertook projects which included flood victim relief and reaching out to the underprivileged in their communities.
The Archdiocesan Family Life Commission focused on encouraging families to partake in family meals and hosted ‘Children are a Gift’ based on excerpts from Archbishop Harris’ pastoral letter. They used several communication tools including YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter, cable TV and newspaper.
Companions of the Transfigured Christ
CTC also wanted to spread the message that families should spend more time at the table together and hosted a Sunday brunch entitled, ‘Ah Wah Meh Brunch’, sharing photos and details of the event via social media.
Collaborating with other ministries like Trinity TV, Catholic Voices and Catholic Media Services Limited, The Catholic Commission for Social Justice used print and digital media platforms to address issues regarding hospitality such as ‘Hearing the Cry of the Poor’; ‘The Church’s Teaching on the Common Good’; and ‘Practising Hospitality’.
Evangelization Commission initiated hospitality in some parishes to make the parishes a more welcoming community. They also collaborated with Catholics in the Workplace and CEBM by launching the ‘God at Work’ programme for school teachers.
Some challenges the ministries faced included underutilised marketing, time constraints, a lack of human resources and funding.
At their first meeting with Archbishop Jason Gordon, they were told they have made great strides in the IPCP process and to celebrate these accomplishments.
“The IPCP objective is a reality that is difficult to get people to and calls for pastoral conversion. We [the Archdiocese of Port of Spain] are still in the early stage of this IPCP process but what you all have done is incredible,” said the archbishop. He hopes the team can take this pilot project to the next level.