Catechising or Publicising?
The role of catechetical coordinator can involve anything from mastering spreadsheets to catering for big catechetical groups. I find that one of the jobs I need to become super-good at is: publicising. Who knew that to be a catechist you also need the skills of a publicist? This is what I seem to spend most of my day doing – how to best reach out to publicise our next formation event. Mailouts are important, but being my parish priest’s PA I know that most of what comes through the post goes straight in the bin. Sorry Cafod. More and more I am realising that we cannot simply put on events – however excellent – and expect people to come to them. We need to reach out to where they are – but how? I am frequently mildly irritated by people bombarding me with their latest event on Facebook. Perhaps sometimes bombardment seems the only way to get your message out into the already saturated reality of people’s lives.
This is the million-dollar question: How can Christ’s voice be heard amidst the cacophony of other voices and messages and images? Perhaps there isn’t such a disparity after all between catechist and publicist, since in publicising we are evangelising, and a catechist must also necessarily be an evangelist. So, instead of mindlessly pumping out ‘noise’ about our next amazing event, I think that our evangelising and publicising need to be guided by prayer, diligence, intelligence, and sensitivity to what will attract people. Bombardment gets a message in people’s faces, but somehow, we need to open a person’s heart to the still, small voice of Christ calling them from the distractions of the chaos around them, and back into themselves, into Him.
As we publicise our next big event, my prayer each morning is that Christ guides those who are helping with this project to invite the people He most wants to be there. I am convinced that there are countless adults out there, hungry for this Good News in their lives, so I feel that if we end up with a small number of participants, we have not done our best for Him. More people need to hear this message! More people need to encounter Him!
Social media is an exciting opportunity for us at this time. Never has it been so easy to connect with so many people. We are currently planning a revamp of our parish website to maximise opportunities for evangelisation and easier communications within and outside the parish. There is much to be said about this, which it would be good to follow up on in future posts. However, above all else that could be said, of paramount importance is the need for us to master this media and use it for our ends – not for it to master us by idling hours away on Facebook.