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2017 Parish Communications Workshop

WORKSHOP IS FULL - NO REGISTRATION AT THE DOOR.

Communication is a means of expressing the missionary vocation of the entire Church; today the social networks are one way to experience this call to discover the beauty of faith, the beauty of encountering Christ. In the area of communications, too, we need a Church capable of bringing warmth and of stirring hearts. (Pope Francis, 48th World Communications Day, 2014)

We invite you to come to the 2017 Parish Communication Workshop exclusively for clergy, parish and religious communities staff or volunteers responsible for both offline and online communication.  This year’s focus will be on social media as it has fundamentally changed how people communicate nowadays.  As Catholics, we need to bring the Church’s teachings into what Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI called the “digital continent.” 

Our guest speaker this year are Fr. Thomas Rosica, the CEO of Salt & Light TV and Lincoln Ho (Social Media specialist from Archdiocese of Edmonton).  

Workshop Information

  • Date: Monday, November 13, 2017 | From 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
    At the Catholic Pastoral Centre (120-17th Ave SW, Calgary)
  • Parking: Please park at the FCJ Centre parkade (219-19th Ave SW) or St. Mary's Cathedral Parkade.

Timetable

  • Note that schedule is subject to change without notice.
  • 08:00 - 09:00  Registration
    09:00 - 09:30  Prayer & Greetings (Bishop William McGrattan)
    09:30 - 10:15  Keynote address (Fr. Thomas Rosica)
    10:30 - 11:15  The Epic Guide to Social Media 101 (Lincoln Ho)
    11:30 - 12:15  Breakout Sessions A, B, C, D (see below)
    12:15 - 13:15  Lunch
    13:15 - 14:00  Breakout Sessions A, B, C, D (see below)
    14:15 - 15:30  Putting into Practice
    15:30 - 16:00  Intro to Diocesan Best Practices

Sessions Information

  • Keynote address: COMMUNICATIONS AND MERCY (Fr. Thomas Rosica)
    Be inspired by Pope Francis, who yearns for the church to be an instrument of reconciliation and welcome, a church capable of warming hearts, a church that is not bent over on herself but always seeking those on the periphery and those who are lost, a church capable of leading people home. Pope Francis has indeed rebranded Catholicsm. How do we follow in his footsteps?
  • General Session: THE EPIC GUIDE TO SOCIAL MEDIA 101 (Lincoln Ho)
    In the beginning, it was just 1s and 0s. Today social media is a sensory overload. How to be salt and light in a world that's overflowing with bursts of flavour. 
  • Breakout Sessions:
    • 1.  OVER HERE!! I’M WRITING IN BOLD!!: Writing for Social Media (Lincoln Ho)
      The digital revolution has created a sense of fear to text posts, blogs, and traditional journalism. When text is the least popular medium, how do we create content to draw the audience to the ultimate Word?
    • 2.  MAKE IMPRESSIONS MEMORABLE: Branding and Consistencies (Fr. Wilbert Chin Jon)
      What is your parish all about, and why is that a big deal? How are you different from the rest? How will you show this on social media every time, and at a glance?  How do you make impressions memorable? It’s all about branding! Know who you are and flaunt it. Learn how.
    • 3.  SOCIAL MEDIA VIDEO ON A BUDGET: Videography Tools for a Beginner (Ryan Factura)
      Video is the king of content on social media.  As a parish, how are you able to jump on this trend without having expensive camera equipment? In this workshop, we'll show you how you can get started with social video using the camera you already have in your hand: your smartphone!
    • 4.  NO PHOTOSHOP, NO PROBLEM: Graphic Tools for Parish Communication (Lia O'Hara)
      Not a graphic designer? No access to Photoshop? No problem! The internet comes to the rescue. Learn how to make great looking posters, bulletin and social media graphics in a matter of minutes. Get to know easy-to-use graphical tools online and other resources that will help you deliver quality imagery while saving time and money.

Registration

  • This workshop is only available for Parish Staff, Communications staff and/or volunteers, and those who are currently managing the bulletin and/or their parish online presence.
  • Limit to only 4 participants per parish. Limited seats.
  • Please register each person separately. Choose one AM breakout session and one PM breakout session.
  • Lunch will be provided. If you have strict dietary restrictions, kindly bring your bagged lunch from home.
  • REGISTER ONLINE HERE
Related Offices Social Media & Website
Related Themes Communications

500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation Concludes

Many Catholic bloggers commented on Pope Francis’s participation in commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. While some were positive, others were perplexed at the pope’s initiative. In his address to participants in a March 2017 meeting themed, Luther: 500 Years Later, Pope Francis acknowledged his own surprise that an Office of the Holy See had convened Catholics and Lutherans to discuss Luther. After all, Pope Francis explained, “not long ago a meeting like this would have been unthinkable.”

Why would the pope commemorate the Reformation, the consequence of which was greater division among Christians and the separation of Protestants from communion with Rome? This was a question on many minds. The Protestant Reformation involved controversies over such topics as: indulgences; the authority of scripture; and the doctrine of justification to name only a few.

Keen to promote reconciliation and peace, Pope Francis, at a prayer service in Sweden, reflected: “We too must look with love and honesty at our past, recognizing error and seeking forgiveness, for God alone is our judge. We ought to recognize with the same honesty and love that our division distanced us from the primordial intuition of God’s people, who naturally yearn to be one, and that it was perpetuated historically by the powerful of this world rather than the faithful people, which always and everywhere needs to be guided surely and lovingly by its Good Shepherd.”

The Vatican has also published an important and ecumenically groundbreaking document entitled, From Conflict to Communion: Lutheran-Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017. This document is available on the Vatican website and is recommended reading for anyone seeking to learn more about Martin Luther, the Reformation, and the key theological debates in the light of the response offered by the Catholic Church.

You can also learn more by studying the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism. Finally, if you would like to engage in this ecumenical dialogue concretely, join us as we gather with Bishop McGrattan and other bishops representing the Anglican and Lutheran denominations, to pray together for better Christian cooperation as we commemorate 500 years since the Reformation in our own diocese on Sunday October 29. Please see Diocesan Dates on page 21 for the details.

Related Offices Ecumenical & Interreligious Affairs Office
Related Themes Ecumenical Christian Unity

Let’s Teach Our Children: Life is Special

Every year in October we are invited to publicly demonstrate our pro-life values. On the first Sunday of the month we celebrate Respect Life Sunday. In some areas in the Diocese, including Calgary, we have the opportunity to participate in the “Life Chain” where people stand on both sides of a busy street holding pro-life signs. Throughout the month we are particularly encouraged to pray for the safety of the unborn and for their mothers. We also pray for those who contemplate assisted suicide and for their doctors that they may have a change of heart and honour life from conception until natural death. At the same time we pray for doctors who do not want to participate in the killing of others, that they may not be forced to take part in such acts; and we pray for those who had or were involved in an abortion, that they may find healing and reconciliation.

Being pro-life means advocating for the protection of all human life. The teaching of pro-life values begins at a very early age. Parents are most influential when it comes to preventing their young children from making harmful and morally wrong choices. Focusing on the value of human life, no child is too young to understand that they are loved. Kisses, hugs, words of encouragement and affirmation are perfect ways to make a child feel loved and special. As the child gets older parents can explain the value of human life by pointing out the differences in people’s appearances and telling them that each person is unique and special. Then there comes a day when a child asks the question, “Where do babies come from?” In today’s society, parents expect this question to be asked by their young children, but when it is actually presented to them they often feel put on the spot and struggle with the appropriate answer. Luckily, there are a number of good books available to children and their parents that can be of helpful assistance.

Here are two books for pre-school to third grade children.

Both are available at many libraries and bookstores:

  • Horton Hears a Who! by Dr. Seuss: It tells the story of Horton, the kind-hearted elephant who rescues the citizens of Whoville. Horton’s philosophy is “a person’s a person no matter how small.” It is a gentle lead into the humanity and dignity of the unborn.
  • Before You Were Born by Jennifer Davis: It is short and easy to understand for children of preschool age to third grade and includes a simple approach to the unborn baby’s development. There are interactive pages that children can peek into and look at.
    Some suggested family pro-life activities:
  • Look for books similar to the ones mentioned above (for smaller children and for older children and youth).
  • Participate in the pro-life awareness and fund raising activities in your area.
  • Arrange for a visit to a family member or to a family from your church that has a newborn baby.
  • Take the children to visit people in a home for seniors. Contact your parish if you don’t know how to go about it.
  • Collect and donate funds to Elizabeth House, the home for the less fortunate young women and their babies supported by the Calgary Diocese.
  • Discuss the cycle of life with your older children and teenagers.
  • Add your own pro-life activities to the list.

Prayer :
Heavenly Father, the beauty and dignity of human life
was the crowning of your creation.
Help us to realize the sacredness of human life
and to respect it from the moment of conception
until the last moment of life.
Give us courage to speak out in defense of life.
Help us to extend the gentle hand of mercy
and forgiveness to those who do not
reverence this precious gift.
We ask this in Jesus’ Name.
Amen.

Related Offices Life & Family Resource Centre (LFRC)
Related Themes Children Life Issues Prolife Family

Catholic Family Services Celebrates 60 Years

Catholic Family Service was founded in 1957 with five staff members. Today, more than 100 employees deliver affordable counselling and a wide range of community programs aimed at building strong families.

Catholic Family Service has faithfully upheld Fr. Pat O’Byrne’s legacy of professional and compassionate service to vulnerable Calgarians for 60 years. Fr. Pat was one of the first trained social workers in Calgary. In 1957, he founded Catholic Family Service, employing five staff members to provide pre-marital and individual counselling, adoption services and financial assistance to all faiths and cultures. Fr. Pat had a hand in establishing several interdenominational social agencies in those years, including the Calgary Drop-in Centre.

Within a few years, satellite offices were established in Medicine Hat and Lethbridge. These offices closed in the late 1960s, as we evolved to meet changing priorities. Joining the United Way (then called Community Chest) in the 1960s led to a greater focus on community-wide needs. Today, Catholic Family Service employs 100 professionals who deliver affordable counselling and a wide range of community programs aimed at building strong families.

A succession of dedicated CEOs — only five in 60 years — has ensured that Fr. Pat’s legacy lives on. Frank Bach was CEO from 1964 to 1968. During his tenure, we became recognized for the professionalism of our staff and our willingness to work cooperatively with other agencies in the community. Under Jack Kirley’s leadership from 1968 to 1984, we formed a partnership with the Calgary Board of Education to provide services to “unwed mothers.” This successful collaboration continues today at the Louise Dean Centre, where we provide counselling, life skills training, on-site child care and financial support to pregnant and parenting teenagers while they complete their high school education.

Greg Campbell was appointed CEO in 1984, serving for the next 27 years. Greg worked with staff to develop programs that connect families within their communities. Under Greg’s leadership, innovative programs were launched such as Crew (formerly Athletes Mentoring), matching youth aged 10 – 14 with student-athlete mentors, and Never Too Late, an academic and social support program for adult learners as they prepare to write their high school equivalency exams. Motherhood Matters (formerly named Volunteers Teaching Important Parent Skills (V-TIPS) and Teen Parent Friend) continues today, as does the Family & Schools Together Program (F&ST), an international school-based family skills program that we brought to Calgary 21 years ago. Under Greg Campbell, volunteers were welcomed as valued partners into the organization (now 400 strong!) We also launched our fundraising arm, the Unlocking Potential (UP) Foundation, during that time. Greg handed the reins to Patricia Jones in 2011. Patricia has championed greater involvement of all fathers, regardless of age, in our services, including the research-based Fathers Moving Forward program which supports the fathers of babies born to young mothers attending Louise Dean Centre. Collaborative approaches continue today through our innovative finance model for students at Louise Dean Centre (a partnership with Terra Centre, Edmonton and the Alberta Government) and our partnership with Carya offering Functional Family Therapy to the community.

Catholic Family Service has never strayed from its original goal to strengthen families through marriage preparation. In partnership with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary, we offer a Marriage Preparation Weekend to couples planning the sacrament of marriage. Grounded in Catholic values, this weekend is open to couples of all faiths and cultural backgrounds.

Among the many funders, partners and donors — far too many to list here — supporting Fr. Pat’s vision over the years, one in particular stands out in our 60th anniversary year. Alberta Teachers’ Association Local 55, Catholic Teachers Charities invites teachers in the Calgary Catholic School District to allocate a donation from each pay cheque for distribution among local charities. Since Catholic Family Service started benefiting from these donations in 2000, we have received more than one million dollars from Catholic teachers. Thank you so much for this amazing support!

A lot may change in six decades, but some things never change. As we celebrate, we are eternally grateful for the vision and leadership of Fr. Pat O’Byrne, our staff and volunteers, and the thousands of Calgarians who have stood beside us to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to live the life they want.

Related Offices Life & Family Resource Centre (LFRC)
Related Themes Family

St. Kateri Camp

The Office of Youth Ministry is hoping a pilot project will help draw First Nations Youth closer to God, and closer to each other while offering them leadership skills to serve their people today and into the future. The pastors of the First Nation Reserves in southern Alberta met this year on several occasions with pastoral staff and members of the Mission Council who strongly supported the idea of a camp experience for First Nation Youth. The camp was held at Camp Columbus, the Knights of Columbus Camp in Waterton, National Park. A perfect backdrop to wonderful week.

Diocesan Youth Retreat Team (DYRT) coordinator Wesley Raymundo, directed the camp pilot project. He was working with the DYRT members, and religious sisters from the Seeds of the Word, Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM), and the Daughters of Mary Mother of the Church (DM) as they reached out to 13 high school youth from the Blood Reserve at Standoff, and the Piikani Reserve at Brocket. Youths were offered an experience of fun and faith over the five days, and together they laughed, played games, took part in skits, celebrated Mass, went horse backing riding, took short hikes, made crafts, prayed and sang songs.

Fr. Long Vu from the Siksika Nation in Cluny assisted at the camp as Chaplain for the five-day camp. One of Fr. Long Vu’s parishioners, Kelsey Solway, visited the camp and was encouraged by what she saw. She would like to be more involved next year, and bring some youth from the Siksika Reserve at Cluny. Kelsey shared:

“What I hope is that next year we are able to send more children to St. Kateri from Holy Trinity Parish in Siksika. Fr. Long expressed how important it was for our youth to be involved with building a relationship within the Catholic church and to become more involved. St. Kateri camp is a great way to foster those relationships. I was very impressed and cannot wait to attend next year. We hope that this is an annual event and I hope we can help more of our First Nations youth attend.”

First Nation youth, are not unlike youth in our cities and countryside who are longing for meaning and purpose in their lives. They desire to have fun, and experience God’s presence in their midst. As a diocese, we share a responsibility to reach out to the youth on our Reserves, and to communicate the Good News with them. Building community and relationships by our words and deeds speaks of God’s transforming love of peace and reconciliation, and is part of our mission as Catholics.

The youth who attended the camp came away feeling loved and part of a bigger family, and they were encouraged to be examples to others, to “Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” [1 Tim: 4]. Selina Young Pine, from the Blood Reserve made sure prior to camp that she told everyone that, “at camp we are family, brothers and sisters.” She was not disappointed when she reflected, “From this camp I have gained more faith, and strength in Jesus, and I am humbled to say that I am a child of God.” Janelle Many Bears, told us that she “loves her new holy family.”

Taila Big Throat of the Blood Reserve summed up her experience by saying: “I really enjoyed coming to this camp; it was very nice meeting everyone and getting to know everyone, and most of all sharing each and everyone’s stories about faith. I really loved how everyone was Catholic and we all love and share in our God.”

Justin Lang, one of the counsellors for the week commented that “he had gained an incredible experience which was getting to know the youth, and being able to see them grow in their faith and really bond together with each other and with counselors to become more of a family.”

Let us continue to shape what has begun. Together we can build a civilization of love, and transform the communities that make up our diocese. We cannot just talk about what is possible, but we must have the courage to get involved, and take action going forth to make a difference. As the youth step forward and are encouraged in their faith they too will be formed as leaders who reflect the Gospel message in their lives, helping to transform the communities that they have grown up in, and also the world itself. St. Kateri is quoted as saying, “Who will teach me what is most pleasing to God, that I may do it?” May we do our part to reach out to the youth on the Reserves, and help to strengthen their faith.

Related Offices Carillon
Related Themes Youth and Young Adults Youth
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