Divine Word Missionaries
COMMUNICATIONS MEDIA (CM) in EUROPE
Report on what is available in the various European Sub-Zones in the field of social communications.
1.SUB-ZONE EAST (SLO, HUN, POL,URL)
In the Slovak Province two magazines, along with several missionary calendars, are published. The magazine “Hlasy z domova a z misii” is the one with the longest history. It was already being published before the communist takeover in 1950, resulting as it did in the prohibition of the circulation of the magazine. After the “velvet revolution” in 1990, our confreres immediately took back the publication, which is very well received among Catholics in Slovakia. Today it has a monthly circulation of 13,000. In SLO the distribution of the magazine takes place in accordance with the model laid down by the first generation in Steyl. In the parishes we have promoters who receive the magazine through the post, and then personally deliver it to the subscribers.
The other magazine is “Mladz Misionár” published four times a year, beginning back in 1997. There are 3,500 copies published per issue. As well as the above there are two calendars (one for hanging, the other with text), and also since 2003 a small calendar as well. The various editions of the calendars reach a total of 20,000. The purpose of these publications is to make known the missionary work of the Church, along with the problems encountered in missionary countries, and the religious situation in the world.
The magazines, along with the other publications, are not only self-financing, but bring in a small profit which helps the confreres in SLO.
The Province has its own website on the Internet (www.svd.sk) where information on the life of the Province and on our missions can be found. Two of the confreres work twice a month for two hours, with the local radio station in Nitra. Occasionally a confrere is invited to take part in television debates. However, this is not on a regular basis.
In HUNGARY, since 1993, the confreres have published a missionary magazine. The magazine is called “Világposta” and comes out four times a year. 5,500 copies are published and distributed by post.
In 2005 they began to publish a wall calendar “Misszios Fali Naptár” to be distributed among our friends and helpers. 1,500 copies of the calendar are published. The purpose of the above publications is centred mainly on mission animation, vocational promotion, and the collecting of funds for the missions. Since 1991 the Provincial sends written reports to the confreres, and this helps to create an ‘esprit de corps’ among them. The magazine is financially self-sustainable.
The Province also has its own web-site, and our confreres are often invited to speak on radio and television. Four films have been produced about our work. With the recent appointment of the present Provincial as secretary of the Hungarian Bishop’s Conference, the SVD has greatly increased its public profile. The Provincial has appeared about five times on state television, has given some fifteen magazine interviews, and has made other appearances in the communications media world.
In POLAND the SVD has a considerable presence in the CM world. The centre of all these activities is “Verbinum”, the publishing house founded in 1982. The present director is Fr. M. Studnik and the focus of the publications (some twenty titles annually) is; Missiology and the Comparative Study of Religions, Ecumenism and Sacred Scripture. “Verbinum” publishes some biblical calendars, along with the missiological and ethnological magazine “NURT SVD” (since 1967 115 volumes have been published) and “Misjornarz” a monthly magazine for the general public with some 12,000 copies.
In collaboration with “Verbinum” the “Centre for dialogue with cultures and religions” has been working since 1993. The centre publishes two series: “Materialy i Studia Ksieyy Werbistów” (MiSKW) and “Dialog Kultur i Religii” (DKiR). Works of a missionary nature appear in the first and are aimed at our confreres and interested people among the general public. In DKiR the focus is on inter-religious dialogue. The general public is presented with articles and the contents of talks hosted by the centre on topics related to inter-religious dialogue. In a similar vein the “Spirituality Centre in Nysa regularly publishes in “Verbinum” its series: “Et Verbum caro factum est” and “My little Homeland”.
The mission secretariat publishes materials (“Animator” and “Image”), to encourage from a missionary perspective, parish liturgies. In “Verbinum” they also publish doctoral theses, books for teaching theology and other books of theological formation. Since 2006 there exists in Poland an edition of the magazine “China Today” which is published by the China Zentrum at St. Augustin.
The publishing house “Verbinum” is recognized throughout Poland for its activities in the field of mission animation and formation. In order to cover its costs, other books of a more popular and devotional nature are published. The main sources of income for “Verbinum” are the calendars and the Biblical Diary. In the case of some specialist publications only 300 copies are published. Sometimes the Province has to subsidise these publications. The magazines “Animator” “Image” and “Misjonarz”, published under the direction of the mission secretary, make a profit which is used in favour of the missions.
In Poland, our presence in other fields of media communications is considerable. In radio, for example, we produce programmes for Radio Maria, and Vatican Radio. We also collaborate with eight local radio stations which belong to the Church. Some of our confreres are regularly invited onto television programmes at national level.
In the URAL REGION up until now nothing has been produced in the communications media field. Tensions which exist between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches will not allow it.
2. THE SOUTHERN SUB-ZONE (ESP and POR)
In the two Iberian Provinces (ESP and POR) the SVD have an important presence in the CM field on account of the Editorial Verbo Divino (EVD) in Estella. Over the last 50 years (work in the publications field began in 1956 with the New Testament intended for the People of God), the EVD has been recognized as one of the most prestigious publishing house in the Spanish speaking world. The focus of its work for many years has been the Bible. As well as publishing books of a high scientific value, they also produce works destined for a more popular market. Some of the best exegetes from the Spanish-speaking world publish their works with the EVD. The Editorial has also extended its market into Latin America, and some of its best clients are our bookshops in Mexico, Argentina. Bolivia and Ecuador. Sales of the Latin-American Bible, along with other editions of the Word of God, now exceed a million copies annually.
The expansion of the EVD has taken place thanks to the excellent group of SVD’s who work there, assisted by our lay collaborators, who work in the administration field. However we have been helped by the very favorable agreements made over the years with institutions such as Adveniat and Aid to the Church in Need. Here must be mentioned the publication in 148 different languages of the Children’s Bible, and the publication of the Catholic Youth Bible in 24 languages. Over 43 million copies of the Children’s Bible have been distributed in the last years. In the year 2006 a total of 1,268,116 copies of the Latin-American Bible were distributed. The total number of bibles placed in the various bookshops throughout 2006 was 1,499,477 copies. Collaboration with « Verbum Bible » in the Congo is excellent, resulting in the publication of the Bible in various African languages.
As well as the extensive publishing work in ESP, the Province also has three small regular publications.
The Provincial keeps the confreres, both in the Province and overseas, up to date with the newsletter “Del Provincialato”. The mission secretariat is responsible for the other two publications: the magazine “En Família” and the mission calendar. These publications appeared for the first time in the mid 80’s.
The aim of the publications issued by the mission secretariat is to keep others informed of the mission work of the congregation, and of those engaged in it. It is one way of maintaining contact with the supporters and friends of the missions, as well as with former students from our colleges and families of SVD missionaries. Distribution takes place from our houses and parishes as well as by post. We receive donations and support for SVD projects and for the missions from those who read our publications.
In PORTUGAL the confreres publish:
The aim of these publications are clearly formational, as well as for mission animation and vocations. They are an attempt to give a public profile to SVD missionaries. The publications themselves are a point of contact between the SVD and our families and benefactors.
The publications are not in themselves economically viable, but, they follow a policy similar to that in ESP; the publications are a means of formation and vocation animation.
The Province of POR has a web-page as part of the site of ECCLESIA, the news agency for the Church in Portugal. During certain days each month confreres are invited by Radio Renascença to preside at the praying of the rosary in Fatima. This radio station belongs to the Church and has the biggest audience in the country. For celebrating important events at the level of the SVD, very good relations have been established with two national television stations.
3. THE NORTHERN SUB-ZONE (IBP and NEB)
The Irish-British Province has had a long history with CM. The magazine “The Word” has been in circulation for over 50 years (since 1956). The number of subscribers is about 20,000 and “The Word” is one of the best known missionary publications in Ireland and Britain. The magazine is self-financing and its aim is clear: to keep people informed of the missionary activities of the Church throughout the world, and to encourage spiritually the life of the readers.
However the presence of the SVD in CM in the IBP is to be found above all with KAIROS. Kairos produces the daily ‘slot’ for the night prayer which is watched by viewers of the national television station (RTE). This has been successfully presented nightly for the last fifteen years and comes after the final news and weather forecast programme. Each week there is a biblical reflection and the topics presented are of daily human realities enlightened by faith. Kairos also daily presents the ‘Angelus’ on RTE (Irish National Television Station). There is also a contract with RTE to transmit 28 Sunday Masses throughout the year. The Mass is broadcasted each time from a different parish in Ireland. The Kairos team have also produced a variety of materials on matters of current concern. During the last four years they have produced programmes on racism and migrations. In association with the National University of Ireland Kairos offers three post-graduate courses on social communications. More information can be found at: www.theword.ie and www.kairoscomms.ie
From 1962 in NEB they have published ROND. The purpose of the publication is to maintain contact with the friends of the SVD and the families of the confreres. 6,500 copies of ROND are published and the readers cover the expenses of the publication.
The NEB Province does not have any consistent presence in other CM.
4. THE CENTRAL SUB-ZONE (SWI, ITA, OES, GEN, GES)
It is in the German speaking sub-zone that the most important insertion of our congregation in CM is to be found. The centre of this presence is the magazine “Stadt Gottes” of which two distinct editions are published: one in Germany and the other in Austria. For some 50 years there was also a Swiss edition (from 1950 – 1990).
In SWITZERLAND since 1991 it is the German edition of “Stadt Gottes” which has been distributed. Similarly it is the German edition of “Weite Welt”, “Pico” and the wall calendar which are also distributed. Along with Austria a common edition of the “St. Michael’s Calendar” is published. This was first distributed in Switzerland in the 20’s, and all takes place in German speaking Switzerland. Our presence in French and Italian speaking Switzerland is not very significant. Some 17,000 copies of “Stadt Gottes” are distributed. Many promoters of the magazine collaborate freely in its distribution in parish communities. In the same way 19,000 copies of the St. Michael’s calendar are distributed and 13,000 copies of the wall calendar. The magazines in SWI provide a small income for the Province.
As well as a newsletter, sent to the confreres on the part of the Provincial, there is a very interesting activity in Switzerland called “Mission Letter” (Missionsbrief) which is sent twice a year to some 25,000 friends of the SVD. The aim of this letter is to present mission projects and to request help for them from our benefactors.
The SWI Province began already in the year 1999 with a web-site on the Internet. However since 2005 the German speaking Provinces have maintained such a presence on the Internet at Sub-Zonal level. On radio and television there are no Province initiatives.
The objective of all these initiative in SWI is clear: to promote Christian and family values, to provide mission animation, and promote solidarity among the Churches.
In ITALY the SVD has a strong presence in CM. There are two important initiative taking place there. The German edition of “Stadt Gottes”, “Weite Welt” and “PICO” continue to be distributed in South Tyrol. This is possible thanks to the efforts of our confreres in Bolzano, who take on the responsibility of delivering the magazine to the promoters in the parishes, and keep alive the interest of these people in our missionary work. In South Tyrol some 10,000 copies of “Stadt Gottes” as well as 3,400 of “Weite Welt” and “PICO” are distributed.
Another initiative is the presence of Fr. Sepp Hollweck in the independent channel RAI. Along with his team he produces reports from mission countries which are later transmitted for viewers of RAI. The high technical quality and content of the reporting are very much appreciated by the viewing public.
In ROMANIA since the beginning (1991) the SVD started with some publications and translation work. A weekly paper to help in the celebration of the Liturgy is very much appreciated in the parishes and religious communities. The confreres publish an ecumenical calendar to place on the wall, which is sold to the catholics and orthodoxes. 10.000 copies of this calendar are made.
In AUSTRIA the SVD have supplied many products in the CM field. There is an editorial office for our magazines at St.Gabriel’s in which mainly lay people are working. In order to have a clear idea of what’s happening, the following are the names, and year of foundation, of the most important of the media products in OES.
There are other CM which are more limited in nature yet growing. However all of them are trying, as Arnold Janssen said in the first issue of Stadt Gottes (1st. of January 1878), “to offer information of interest, and religious formation”. In recent years “Stadt Gottes” in Austria has focused on topics such as Justice and Peace, as well as reporting on other peoples, religions and cultures. In “Weite Welt”, which is aimed at children and teenagers, the editorial team are trying to create awareness of the environment, and how communities can be assisted in their own self-development.
The magazine “Stadt Gottes” is still profitable and provides financial support for the Province. All the other publications are funded, with the exception of the Michaelskalender.
The Province still maintains a publishing house, which in recent years has greatly restricted its publishing activities. The works of the Theological -Religious Institute (Religionstheologisches Institut) are published by our Editorial St Gabriel.
Our presence on the internet is carried out at the level of the Sub-Zone. The Province reports on the Web-site about the various activities at St. Gabriel’s. The Province has a spokesman who is active in the various CM, and some confreres are invited to take part in public debates in the media. There is a coordinator in the Province for media, and a coordinator for communications (Const. 115). In the various areas of activity in the Province attempts are made to keep close ties with the media and to send them reports of interest.
In GERMANY the publications produced by the editorial team for our magazines in Kaldenkirchen for the CM are not very different from those in Austria. Some of the titles are repeated, but the content is not the same. At St Augustin there are various Institutes and it is remarkable what is produced, especially at the scientific level. For that reason, in the following report I would like to distinguish between what is aimed at the general public, and what is of a more scientific nature.
a. Publications for the general public
b. Scientific publications.
The Academy of Peoples and Cultures – Every year they publish the minutes of the meetings or congresses which take place at this centre of St. Augustin.
Publications from the School of St. Augustin – Deals with monographs or promotional work of the students from St Augustin. Since 1957 they have published 55 titles.
VERBUM SVD – The magazine appears four times a year and publishes works in the field of Theology and Mission. The first issue of Verbum came out in 1959.
STUDIA Instituti Missiologici Societatis Verbi Divini collects studies on the history of mission, on the theology of mission, and from the field of religions and cultures. Publication began in the year 1962, and there are 88 volumes.
STEYLER MISSIONSCHRONIK Without doubt this is one of the best known of our publications. It is produced annually, and through the use of text and images reports on the missionary work of the Steyl family. The first “Missionschronik” appeared in 1959 and its publication is the work of the Missiological Institute of St. Augustin. Just over 10,000 copies of the mission chronicle are printed to distribute among friends and benefactors of the SVD. The “Anthropos” Institute has its headquarters in St. Augustin and makes itself present in the scientific world through the following publications:
ANTHROPOS – is the magazine founded by Fr. W. Schmidt in 1906 and is published twice a year. It is over one hundred years in existence.
STUDIA INSTITUTI ANTHROPOS – It is not printed on a regular basis. However since 1909 specialized studies in anthropology and ethnology have appeared in it. Up to the present time 51 volumes have been published. It is the same with COLLECTANEA INSTITUTI ANTHROPOS, which began in 1947, and of which 44 volumes have been published.
The most recent publication to come from the Institute dates back to 1989 and is called ANTHROPOLOGY and MISSION. It is published twice a year and makes known works which are relevant for missionaries in the fields of anthropology and ethnology. Thirty-three issues of this publication have appeared to date.
Finally to call attention to publications relating to China.
After the revolution in China a publication was brought to St. Augustin which was very much appreciated in Chinese intellectual circles: « MONUMENTA SERICA: JOURNAL of ORIENTAL STUDIES ». It has been published since 1934. Similarly since 1935 COLLECTANEA SERICA has been published. These publications deal with topics relevant to the Chinese culture, and as the Chinese title indicates, with the countries bordering on China (Tibet and Mongolia).
CHINA HEUTE – This is an excellent source of information on what is taking place in China today in the field of religion and the churches. It has been published since 1982
EUROPEAN ECUMENICAL CHINA
COMMUNICATION – This is not published on a regular basis. It provides reports on congresses and other relevant gatherings relating to China which take place at an ecumenical level. To date four volumes have appeared.
The purpose of all these publications is two-fold: to provide mission animation as well as economic support for our work, while assuring an important presence of the SVD in such scientific fields as Ethnology, Missiology, Studies of China, and Anthropology. The publications directed at the general public are not only financially self sustaining but also are a source of finance for the Province concerned. The other scientific publications are maintained thanks to the budgets of the respective Institutes.
The German Provinces maintain their presence on the internet as part of the Central Sub-Zone. Some confreres have set up a web-site to deal with Biblical topics or provide courses on the Christian faith. Some of our people are occasionally invited to speak on radio about topics of a missionary nature.
For the Television “Steyl Medien” produces, since 2005, the programme “No Frontiers” (Grenzenlos), which is transmitted by the Bible Channel. Here the missionary work of the Church is presented, along with different personalities from the history of the missions, and projects promoting justice and peace. Similarly “Steyl Medien” has produced, and has on offer, over one hundred videos and other materials for formation at school and parish level.
Jorge Manuel Fernandes, SVD