KOLKATA, (C.M. Paul) – The Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) Commission for Social Communication and Signis India (Catholic Association for Communications) hosted a four-day seminar for students of theology from the major seminaries in India.
The theme of the seminar was: ‘Social Communication in Theological Formation- Paradigms for Pastoral Leadership’.
Monsignor Paul Tighe from the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Rome, inaugurated the 2-5 October seminar held at Nitika Don Bosco, Kolkata.
On 4th October, the 50 plus participants attended a dawn Eucharistic celebration at the tomb of Blessed Mother Teresa. After the Eucharist presided over by Mons Tighe at Blessed Mother Teresa’s tomb, the Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity Sr Prema MC met the group and gave out the relics of the blessed.
“This first national seminar was part of the Church’s effort to enable seminarians to integrate communication in their formation and ministry,” said Secretary of the CBCI Commission for Social Communications Salesian Fr. Dr. George Plathottam.
He recalled the CBCI statement following its General Assembly in 2004 on the theme “Called to be a Communicating Church” which stated: “Future priests should be adequately formed to proclaim the Word effectively and celebrate the Sacred Mysteries meaningfully. Efforts must be made to improve their communication skills. A proper media course should be part of the seminary curriculum. We urge that communications be integrated into all formation.”
In February 2010 the Commission for Social Communications launched a program for formation in social communication under the title: Communication for Pastoral Leadership (CPL). The 9-credit program for formation of seminarians was promoted across the country through the publication of three resource books and a DVD, a series of training programs for formators and the launching of a website (www.communicationformation.com).
Resource persons like Mons. Tighe (Vatican), Fr. George Plathottam (CBCI-OSC), Jesuit Fr Gaston Roberge (film theorist), Mr Barry O’Brien (celebrity quiz master), Christian Brother Brenden MacCarthy (Serve), Jesuit Fr George Ponodoth (EMRC), Ms Mini Joseph (Secretary of Bengal Commission for Social Communications), Ms Ruth Joseph (All India Radio presenter), Mr. Sunil Lucas (Signis India president), Dr Stephen Mavely (Vice-Chancellor of Don Bosco University and Salesian Fr C. M. Paul made practical presentations.
The seminar provided opportunities for the students to make their own presentations on the theme in the form of papers, short films, PowerPoint presentations and posters.
Some 50 students who participated at the seminar came from New Delhi, Pune, Bangalore, Allahabad and Barrackpore regional theological seminaries. They are expected to promote communication studies in their seminaries through formation of Media Clubs, celebration of World Communication Day, Media Education and other activities.
At the conclusion of CPL, 5 Oct, DBU Vice Chancellor and Mons. Tighe launched the CPL course consisting of a three phase pastoral communications course leading to a diploma granted by DBU. In the coming years, the fully on-line CPL course module open to all, is expected to graduate into an MA degree program.
In February 2010, the president of the Pontifical Commission for Social Communications Archbishop Celli launched a programme in Social Communication for the formation of pastoral leaders in India at the CBCI Centre in New Delhi. The three phase program with its specific books and study resources are promoted across the country through a series of workshops, meetings and training programmes.
Listen to Mons. Paul Tighe speaking to the Vatican Radio on Mother Teresa & the CPL seminar in Kolkata.