By Kaelanne Jordan
Just as salmon continues to swim upstream, against the direction of the waters, and under challenging conditions and circumstances so too are Catholic communicators called to keep swimming in this Caribbean Sea even when it seems useless.
If they do this consistently over the next 25 years, then the Caribbean School for Catholic Communications (CSCC) will have a different kind of Caribbean civilisation, CSCC Principal Archbishop Jason Gordon said during a Mass to celebrate CSCC’s 25th anniversary, last Sunday (August 4) at the Living Water Community Chapel, Port of Spain.
The Caribbean School for Catholic Communications which operates out of Emmaus Retreat Centre, Arima offers people from the Caribbean the opportunity to keep abreast and explore the current social media and digital tools to evangelise in their diocese/parish.
Each year the School strives to identify a ‘sub-theme’ that is in tune with the Church’s emerging pastoral concerns and related to its primary theme of Forming Missionary Disciples in a Digital Age. This year the School’s sub-theme is SPLASH Caribbean (Save and Protect our Land, Air, Sea and Home).
CSCC has attracted participants from all over the region, as far as Bahamas, Jamaica, Suriname, Guyana and many of the islands in-between.
Catholic communication is about communicating the message of life to a people. That message of life, the Archbishop said, has implications at all levels.
“What we received for the Word for this weekend from the Church is a significant challenge on what our message is and a significant challenge that our message and our lifestyle have to look at each other through the lens of the gospel,” he said.
Referencing the upcoming Synod for the Amazon in October, which focuses on the how persons are treating the Earth and environment, Archbishop Gordon said this is an example of the thinking of how wealth and greed can be used for one’s own advancement.
“And in that sense, our gospel challenges the very fabric of our thinking in the Caribbean civilisation and the communicators of the gospel have to understand that challenge and make this challenge real for all the generations that are currently living in our Caribbean.”
He further added that to make this challenge “real” means persons ought to be friends and defenders of the ecology, the poor, those on the margins of society and those visiting our shores.
Ultimately, the communicator must become a tool in the toolbox of Kingdom building on behalf of God, speaking and communicating to this civilisation the values that may or may not be in sync with the prevailing thinking of society.
After Mass an anniversary ceremony followed on Monday with talks by the Archbishop and CSCC Vice Principal Sr Angela Ann Zukowski who gave an overview/ guidelines/ expectation of the School. She said that what made the School so special is that participants come with a perspective, a mindset that is Catholic. Catholic is more than an attitude that persons attach to the School. “It’s our identity, its our mission and it’s our vision” that is rooted in our rich Catholic living tradition.
Sr Angela Ann added that at the CSCC, persons ought to be thinking all the time how the idea of being Catholic influence every single production that they are involved in.
Living Water Community Foundress Rhonda Maingot did the welcome remarks to the anniversary ceremony with Lisa Bhajan, Trinity TV station manager and CSCC facilitator and Vicar for Communications Fr Robert Christo presenting.
Also speaking were overseas radio facilitator Sherry Kennedy-Brownrigg, while CSCC coordinator Suzanne Dowdy did the vote of thanks
Two videos were shown of CSCC on its 20th anniversary providing a background and another by Francisco Reyes on Religious Imagination, considered one of the best videos produced at the School. The 2019 CSCC programme culminates on August 10.