FORT WAYNE — The annual collection for the U.S. bishops’ Catholic Communication Campaign is scheduled to take place in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend the weekend of Sept. 13. The annual national appeal supports efforts in the United States and around the world to use the media, internet and print publications to help people connect with Christ.
Fifty percent of the funds collected yearly within the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend for the Catholic Communications Campaign remain in the diocese to support local communication efforts. The other half is used to support national efforts in the United States and in developing countries around the world.
According to Secretary for Communications Jennifer Simerman, the local portion of CCC funds, which last year totaled just over $20,000, is utilized by the secretariat to serve Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades by publishing his messages, providing Catholic news content and promoting diocesan events and ministries through various media platforms.
“Our work connects the bishop and diocese to the lay faithful, as well as to the secular media, and reaches beyond the Catholic community to inform and evangelize,” she summarized.
In addition to publishing the weekly diocesan newspaper, Today’s Catholic, the secretariat provides diocesan offices and ministries with marketing, advertising, communications and multimedia support. This also includes graphic design and event promotion, livestream, videography and photography services, a recording studio, media relations, coordination of TV Mass offerings and regular communication with 82 parishes and 43 schools on a variety of topics.
During the past year, the communications team worked in the office and after hours to stay connected to diocesan faithful during the COVID-19 pandemic by initiating or facilitating livestream and videography services. “This was a monumental task for a staff as small as ours. We needed new equipment and training and relied heavily on the manpower of some very dedicated volunteers,” Simerman said. “Publication of the diocesan newspaper in both print and digital formats also continued without disruption of service; something we are very proud of in light of the fact that many print publications across the country had to scale back production during this unusual time.”
In addition to daily operations, Simerman, page designer Francie Hogan and communications/brand specialist Molly Gettinger have been working on a redesign of the diocesan website, which will debut this fall. Also, for the first time, this year’s Annual Bishop’s Appeal video and related materials were produced in-house.
Video/multimedia specialist Nate Proulx’s primary focus when producing videos is to tell a story which shows the beauty of our faith, said Simerman: to inspire and bring Christ to others on a personal level, through storytelling as Pope Francis encouraged in his 2020 message for World Communications Day.
Carl Loesch, director of the Secretariat for Education, is particularly appreciative of video production that has been provided to assist his office. A video shown at the annual You Can Lend a Hand luncheons in January, depicting a personal journey of faith intersecting with the opportunities and support provided the Catholic schools of our diocese, was well-received.
“In this day and age, it is so important to communicate your message well. The Catholic Schools Office was thrilled with the video produced by our Secretariat for Communications. We knew it was a powerful story to hear about how one of our graduates overcame family tragedy and returned to teach in our schools,” said Loesch. “The Secretariat for Communications captured the essence of the story in a beautiful and moving way. We heard many comments from parents, school board members and teachers about how much they loved the video. Thanks to the support of the CCC funds and the professional expertise of the Communications Office that made the video possible.”
In collaboration with the Office of Hispanic Ministry, a video produced this spring in Spanish and English focuses on the role of godparents in a child’s baptism. The videos will be shown during baptismal preparation classes.
Titled Padrinos, or Godparents, they feature families from St. Adalbert Parish speaking about how they were guided in faith by their own godparents, and what they considered in choosing godparents for their own children. Father Ryan Pietrocarlo, CSC, also explains the requirements to be a godparent, and the expectation of someone who is asked to fulfill that role.
“It’s about so much more than the things we produce,” said Simerman. “It’s about using communication tools to promote our faith and serve others. We do this by sharing the good news of Jesus Christ and providing the resources for parishes and schools to do the same. This is the work of the Secretariat for Communications, and the Catholic Communication Campaign provides a portion of the funds necessary to carry out this endeavor.”
Envelopes to donate to the Catholic Communications Campaign are included in the September package of parish donation envelopes and can be turned in at any parish. To donate online, visit www.osvonlinegiving.com/224/DirectDonate/75831.
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