Few would argue the power of the media today and the emergence and influence of social media can hardly be denied. Like most things in life, there are pros and cons to this. But everyone can agree that by using some form of media, one can get the word out.
The men and women of the diocesan Office of Communications use the media to their advantage every day to spread the Good News, the teachings of Pope Francis and the Church, what's happening in the Diocese of Buffalo and with Bishop Richard J. Malone.
In order to do their job, fulfill their ministry and inform area Catholics, they rely on donations to the annual Catholic Communication Campaign. Each year, since 1979, dioceses across the country have participated in this special collection to support both local communication efforts and national projects. The collection is unique in that 50 percent of what is raised stays in the diocese. The remainder is sent to the national office to fund the development and production of a wide range of media initiatives of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and to help developing nations in their communications work.
In 2012, almost $4 million was sent to the national office of which 78 percent was used for diocesan and national projects. Sixteen percent accounted for special initiatives and 6 percent was for developing nations.
This year, the annual Catholic Communication Campaign will be conducted in Buffalo diocesan parishes on the weekend of June 7 and 8.
Locally, the diocesan communications office utilizes a wide range of media outlets. The Western New York Catholic, the award-winning monthly diocesan newspaper, tells the story of what is happening in the eight counties of the diocese. It's available at all parishes on the first Sunday of the month. Their companion website, www.wnycatholic.org, features timely articles as well as a digital version of the paper.
This year, the paper has made a concerted effort to concentrate on new media, or digital media. Mark Ciemcioch, a 15-year employee of the paper and the new media coordinator, is responsible for populating the paper's Twitter account and Facebook page as well as contributing to both the Western New York Catholic and the diocesan websites.
With the growth of smartphones, tablet computers and new media, more people have greater opportunities to connect in the digital environment and it gives the communicators and the diocese more options to evangelize. This fall, Ciemcioch and his newspaper colleagues expect to include video on the paper's website.
The Catholic Directory, the definitive guide to Catholic parishes, institutions, clergy and religious, is also a product of the Office of Communications. The Directory is now available free on the diocesan website, www.buffalodiocese.org/directory.
Daybreak TV Productions, a group known and respected nationally for their quality programming, provides weekly video evangelization moments with Bishop Malone through his "Consider This ..." clips which are shown on the diocesan website and YouTube. Daybreak also tapes "The Daily Mass" at St. Joseph Cathedral which airs on Time Warner Cable and WLOF-FM (101.7) Catholic Radio each evening. In addition to the weekday Masses, the group tapes The Sunday Mass shown on Sundays on WUTV-Channel 29 and local cable stations throughout the week.
Their monthly program, "Our Daily Bread," airs on the second Saturday of each month at 5:30 a.m. and noon on WKBW-TV Channel 7. The show is far-reaching, though, as it also airs on the CatholicTV Network, a national network, across the country and online.
Daybreak, through grants and foundation funding, has had the prestigious opportunity of providing this year's Easter Mass which aired nationally on ABC affiliate stations. Earlier this year, Daybreak released their 60-minute documentary, "Building a Basilica," about Venerable Nelson Baker's Our Lady of Victory Basilica in Lackawanna.
The radio ministry facet of the Office of Communications produces "Western New York Catholic Weekly," "Catholic Today" and "Mercy Times" with Amy Betros and Norm Paolini. Programs air on local radio stations, WLOF-FM (101.7), WLVL-AM (1340), WJTN-AM (1240), WSPQ-AM (1330) and WCJW (1140 AM). Podcasts are also available through the diocesan website.
Since today's consumers receive news, entertainment and information as it happens, the diocesan Office of Communications relies on the Internet and social media, including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, now more than ever to get that news out to the public. With the funds from the CCC, they connect Catholics to God's Word, faith communities and the Church's mission.
Without the funds from the annual Catholic Communication Campaign collection, the Office of Communications would not be able to provide the wide array of programs, publications and services that are such a staple in the lives of Catholic Western New Yorkers.
Please support the mission of the Office of Communications by contributing to the campaign through your parish's second collection or by directly sending your donation to the Communications office.
Checks should be made payable to the Diocese of Buffalo and mailed to the Communications Office at 795 Main St., Buffalo, NY 14203. Please remember to indicate the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC) in the memo portion of your check.
Secure online donations to the CCC can also be made on the diocesan homepage at
www.buffalodiocese.org. Click on the "Donate Now" button near the bottom of the page to take advantage of this opportunity.