“In God’s plan, human communication is essential for living in communion,” said Fr. Carlos Enrique Caamaño Martin, SCJ, echoing the words of Pope Francis in his message for World Communications Day on January 24. The superior general was the opening speaker at the May 23-25 Media Experts Meeting in Rome.
Continuing to reflect on the Holy Father’s words, Fr. Carlos Enrique reminded participants that media has incredible power, including the power to spread false truths, or in today’s terminology, “fake news.”
“We are here because we are called to be servants of the truth,” he said. “Information is formation; in chaotic times, communication allows us to experience each other and build true community.”
This is the second Media Experts Meeting; the first took place in January, 2017. It is a gathering of Dehonian communicators from around the world. Many are SCJs, but there are also several lay employees in the mix. They represent entities with extensive, professional media programs as well as those just beginning to learn how to utilize digital media.
Fr. Radek Warenda, SCJ, spoke about the work that has taken place since the last meeting. To start, he noted that the general administration followed the recommendation of the last gathering and appointed a communications director for the congregation.
In fact, the new director is him.
The administration also created an International Communications Commission (ICC) to assist Fr. Radek in looking at communication needs in the congregation and developing ways of addressing them. These include creating a visual identity, a new website, and most importantly, seek ways of collaborating with local entities.
Fr. Antonio Rufete Cabrea, SCJ, a member of the ICC, gave a brief presentation about the congregation’s new Mission Statement. In less than a year, a logo for the statement was created and already well-embraced by Dehonians around the world. The challenge now is to go beyond the logo and implement the Mission Statement itself.
“The Mission Statement is an expression of who we are and the answer to the question of what Dehonians are called to do,” he said. “It is a tool to guide us in our decision-making and community life.”
In the afternoon, Miroslaw Klis and Tomasz Jurecki of Studio Otwarte gave a presentation on their efforts in creating a Dehonian Visual Identity. The Poland-based agency is working with the General Communications Office on things such as the coat of arms of the congregation, and what has become its common logo: the Dehonian cross. The agency worked with the General Archives, the Centro Studi Dehoniani and other resources in researching the background of several commonly used symbols.
Following their presentation, participants broke into small groups to create PowerPoints that utilized elements from the proposed identity packages. It was not an exercise to express preferences of one design over another –– all designs are in the developmental stages –– but instead, to learn how to implement Visual Identity components.
The conference continues with a full day of activities on May 24, and then a morning at the Holy See’s Secretariat for Communication on Friday.