"Finally, brothers and sisters,
pray for us, so that the word of the Lord
may spread rapidly
and be glorified everywhere,
just as it is among you."
Revitalizing Communications in the Diocese of Antigonish
By Irene Khattar
As a member of the Communication Committee I spent some time this past week reviewing the content of this wonderful new website. Doing so led me to reflect on the desire, the will and the action that has brought this and other communications efforts to fruition.
During the summer of 2014 I was invited by Bishop Brian Dunn to join a working advisory committee to address one of the Diocesan Congress themes, Enhancing Communications. I had not been involved in the Congress but have spent my working career in the Communications field and as someone recently retired, thought the experience would be one that could be productive and enlightening. It truly has been both.
In revisiting my notes from the first round table meeting with an insightful group of laity and clergy members, I found a list of questions that were expressed during that meeting. The list included such questions as:
These queries were not easily answered but the discussions over the next several months were stimulating, positive and constructive in nature. As we moved through both conceptual and pragmatic discussions using the Congress direction as our platform, the group was energized and began to formulate next steps. Most importantly, the committee was energized by the possibilities of sharing the varied facets and perspectives of parish and diocesan life, leadership and activities through a revitalized commitment to communications co-ordination and the tool box of options that were available to the Diocese.
It was abundantly clear that communications is a broad and all-encompassing portfolio and needed a knowledgeable and experienced individual to take on the role Communications Officer, reporting directly to Bishop Dunn. The creation of an appropriate position description for a part-time person, advertised province-wide, resulted in the hiring of Jennifer Hatt of New Glasgow. In the nine months since Jennifer began, she has been listening to the many voices of important groups within the Diocese, including the Council of Priests, the Implementation Committee, The Deaneries, members of the Youth Ministry, Diocesan staff and countless others. This has resulted in opportunities for engaging dialogue that are now shared regularly through the new E-Bulletin, Facebook and this impactful new website. Jennifer has also led the communications committee through a visual identity process that represents the renewed spirt, vision and face of the Diocese of Antigonish.
A Communications Strategy is in its formative stages and is embedded in the vision of the Diocese and the Gospel. Communications encompasses the work that is done daily by lay committees, our priests, our parishioners and our staff as well as the religious communities within our Diocese - the people that give of time, talent and skills. I encourage all to communicate with Jennifer so that she can in turn share ideas, projects, plans and endeavours across the Diocese, with partners and communities at large. Your work individually and collectively is a narrative worth telling. It speaks to compassion, comfort, courage and connection. It speaks to the vision that as a Church and that as a Diocese we are alive and participating in conversations and actions that demonstrates purpose and faith based outcomes.
Communications is on-going as messages and efforts change, so the question “What will success from a communications perspective look like 18 months from now?” is one I am certain the Communications Committee will continue to ask. We look forward to your response and involvement in communicating all that the Diocese of Antigonish represents at this time in our history.