My secondment to the 1990 Year of Mission Committee proved to be a wonderful opportunity to understand how to go about pastoral planning.
Archbishop Foley asked me to join the team so that the perspective of a parish priest could help in the engagement with parish priests and the parishes.
The major event of the Year of Mission was the Archdiocesan Assembly where parishes sent representatives who met in small groupings and in plenary sessions. The major projects that emerged from the assembly were parish renewal, planning for the future development of the Archdiocese and communications.
It has been quite interesting to see that these projects have been discerned as still relevant in the Archdiocesan Plan 2016-2021.
We prepared for the Archdiocesan Plan through a consultation phase in 2015. This enabled us to recognise the great strides that had already been taken in communications since 1990, but it raised our awareness of the burgeoning developments in new technologies and the potential these offer to the Archdiocese.
One of the great challenges for the Church today is how can we communicate effectively the message of the Gospel and our story to the people within and outside the Archdiocese. We cannot rely just on traditional media. The stories that we are able to tell require the space for the reasoning of the positions that the Church takes.
This magazine, The Record, and its weekly electronic version, prolongs a media tradition of over a century in Western Australia. The new style has received high praise and readers appreciate the thematic approach of each issue of The Record Magazine.
The new platforms for sharing stories via social media offer us more effective means of communicating our message. They provide the opportunity for dialogue that can help shape the way we communicate with the young and anyone who is searching in life.
Effective communication is also developing within the offices of the Archbishop and between the agencies of the Archdiocese. Networking enables regular flows of information, and enables agencies and bodies the chance to access and benefit from programs and professional development that one or other agency may sponsor.
The rapid developments in the new media have been embraced by our communications staff and choices are being made on which of these suit our message and ethos. Our staff are also able to access demonstrations, training and problem solving and with support from the IT staff of the Archdiocese.
It is certain that the work of improving communications will continue to be part of the pastoral planning in the Archdiocese when the present Plan is completed in 2021 and the new Plan emerges in 2022.
From pages 4 to 5 of Issue 21: ‘The most Effective Communications is transformative’ of The Record Magazine