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Prabhu Yesu Mahotsav (Lord Jesus grand festival), 16 October. Reaping where we did not sow Dr Plathottam laments the fact that, ''We invest very little money, nor do we mobilize financial resources in our local churches for the media ministry.'' He further states that ''I consider financial investment as the clearest indication of our commitment to any cause.'' ''If we are unwilling to allot funds for media ministry in our local churches, it is a clear indication of wanting to 'reap where we do not sow,' Dr Plathottam adds sighting the annual World Communications Day collection of the US Catholic Church to be something like two million dollars for the communication ministries. Challenge for Indian Catholic Media ''Can our Catholic media rise to the challenge, can we have better and more coordinated strategies, can we join hands, sinking our ego and our individualism?'' asks the former president of the Indian Catholic Press Association and Editor in Chief of South Asia Religious News. In the same vein he continues, ''Can our leaders show the way, can we become more constructive and determined in our desire to understand the power of media in the mission of the Church? Can all of us show greater commitment and passion for the Good News and be the new evangelizers of the Good News today as was St. Paul, St. Thomas, Francis Xavier, Saint Alphonsa, Blessed Chavara Kuriakose Elias, Fr. Leviens, Fr.Vendrame, Blessed Mother Teresa, and numerous others in their own ways and in their times.'' Invest in Public Relations ''I feel that by neglecting this area of our ministry [public relations], we are letting the light of Christ and all the good we do, be buried under a bushel. We cannot expect the people to see the Light hidden under a bushel,'' says Dr Plathottam pointing out an important and much neglected area in Church Communications. Bogged down by personality cult ''I am afraid, Christian communication in India today is so much bogged down by personality cult: the focus seems more on us, showcasing our bishops, priests and religious, and our institutions. We seem to be busy trumpeting our little and big accomplishments at the cost of telling what is central to the mission of the church entrusted to us,'' points out Dr Plathottam, a member of the World Consultation Body for Salesian Media. ''Our [media] efforts are not concerted, but piecemeal, centered not on the one important goal of sharing the message of Christ, but falsely focused on competition, egoism, and personality cult, individualistic and fragmented approach among church institutions, congregations, dioceses, regions and at the national level. In order to share the Good News through the media, we must be open, self-effacing, willing to pay the costs, willing to devote our time and energy. Our efforts will be reflected in the quality of our products: periodicals, films, songs, music, art, theatre, and so many other media of communication,'' he spells out. New Ecclesiology for Communication ''This lacuna, according to me, is due to the great emphasis on personal formation as an individualistic approach to holiness, of personal sanctification at the risk of not developing a proper sense of the Church, and a narrow approach to one's parish, diocese, congregation as one's territory and operational field. The mission is universal, it has no borders. If we need to understand this better, perhaps we need a new and more integrated ecclesiology which is directed by the one mission of bringing Christ's Good News to the world today, sensing and manifesting God's presence in the world today. This I believe is the reason why many people in India see the Church simply as a mighty, powerful institution. What is visible dominates and even shocks the senses. The invisible mystery of the kingdom remains somehow buried in the earth like a hidden seed. This is the reason I think many people in our country misunderstand our mission. After all while we announce the Good News, we should not be afraid to denounce the bad news, warns Dr Plathottam currently working on Media Ministry syllabus for seminarians at the Philosophy and Theology Training periods. George Plathottam's e-Mail id : gplath@gmail.com ' >
Media Education is Evangelization, says Bishops' Media Secy
By C. M. Paul
Sri Lanka, Oct. 16. MUMBAI -- As Cardinal Avery Dulles says if 'Church is communication' then ''media education is also evangelization in the sense it tries to educate people to discover the presence of God in the media by critically guiding and educating them,'' says Executive Secretary, Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) Commission for Social Communications, New Delhi, Salesian Fr. George Plathottam speaking on the theme ''LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE THROUGH THE MEDIA.''
Dr. George Plathottam, Executive Secretary, Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI ) Commission for Social Communications, New Delhi addressing delegates of Indian Mission Congress, Mumbai, 16 October. Photo by Br. Crescens Lemos SDB
View actual size
''The students in our institutions, the faithful in our parishes need media education. Media education also helps us to move out of the instrumentalist approach to communication to the larger world of the media that profoundly influence society and people, particularly the young,'' explains Dr. Plathottam addressing some 1,500 delegates from India's 160 dioceses  attending the Oct. 14-18 event, called Prabhu Yesu Mahotsav (Lord Jesus grand festival), 16 October.

Reaping where we did not sow
Dr Plathottam laments the fact that, ''We invest very little money, nor do we mobilize financial resources in our local churches for the media ministry.'' He further states that ''I consider financial investment as the clearest indication of our commitment to any cause.''
''If we are unwilling to allot funds for media ministry in our local churches, it is a clear indication of wanting to 'reap where we do not sow,' Dr Plathottam adds sighting the annual World Communications Day collection of the US Catholic Church to be something like two million dollars for the communication ministries.

Challenge for Indian Catholic Media
''Can our Catholic media rise to the challenge, can we have better and more coordinated strategies, can we join hands, sinking our ego and our individualism?'' asks the former president of the Indian Catholic Press Association and Editor in Chief of South Asia Religious News.
In the same vein he continues, ''Can our leaders show the way, can we become more constructive and determined in our desire to understand the power of media in the mission of the Church? Can all of us show greater commitment  and passion for the Good News and be the new evangelizers of the Good News today as was  St. Paul, St. Thomas, Francis Xavier, Saint Alphonsa, Blessed Chavara Kuriakose Elias, Fr. Leviens, Fr.Vendrame, Blessed Mother Teresa, and numerous others  in their own ways and in their times.''

Invest in Public Relations
''I feel that by neglecting this area of our ministry [public relations], we are letting the light of Christ and all the good we do, be buried under a bushel. We cannot expect the people to see the Light hidden under a bushel,'' says Dr Plathottam pointing out an important and much neglected area in Church Communications.

Bogged down by personality cult
''I am afraid, Christian communication in India today is so much bogged down by personality cult: the focus seems more on us, showcasing our bishops, priests and religious, and our institutions. We seem to be busy trumpeting our little and big accomplishments at the cost of telling what is central to the mission of the church entrusted to us,'' points out Dr Plathottam, a member of the World Consultation Body for Salesian Media.
''Our [media] efforts are not concerted, but piecemeal, centered not on the one important goal of sharing the message of Christ, but falsely focused on competition, egoism, and personality cult, individualistic and fragmented approach among church institutions, congregations, dioceses, regions and at the national level. In order to share the Good News through the media, we must be open, self-effacing, willing to pay the costs, willing to devote our time and energy. Our efforts will be reflected in the quality of our products: periodicals, films, songs, music, art, theatre, and so many other media of communication,'' he spells out.

New Ecclesiology for Communication
''This lacuna, according to me, is due to the great emphasis on personal formation as an individualistic approach to holiness, of personal sanctification at the risk of not developing a proper sense of the Church, and a narrow approach to one's parish, diocese, congregation as one's territory and operational field. The mission is universal, it has no borders. If we need to understand this better, perhaps we need a new and more integrated ecclesiology which is directed by the one mission of bringing Christ's Good News to the world today, sensing and manifesting God's presence in the world today.  
This I believe is the reason why many people in India see the Church simply as a mighty, powerful institution. What is visible dominates and even shocks the senses. The invisible mystery of the kingdom remains somehow buried in the earth like a hidden seed. This is the reason I think many people in our country misunderstand our mission. After all while we announce the Good News, we should not be afraid to denounce the bad news, warns Dr Plathottam currently working on Media Ministry syllabus for seminarians at the Philosophy and Theology Training periods.
George Plathottam's e-Mail id : gplath@gmail.com

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