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The Use of Mass Media
for the Divine Word Missionaries in the Western Province  USA

Arnold Janssen used the printing press very effectively in his mission. Setting up the printing press was the first order of business as he began in Steyl. We who continue his work should be using mass media in modern and effective ways.

There are four areas where communication is vitally important for us as a province:

  1. The intercommunication among ourselves.
  2. The use of communication in our parishes and ministries
  3. The use of mass media as a source of evangelization for those who are not members of our parish.
  4. National and international broadcasts.

Intra-Province communication

1.   In our internal communication we now use the Internet for much of our communications. The Internet is an immediate and effective way of communicating messages throughout the province. To a large extent, we've done away with the printed word. We can also use Facebook to interact with smaller groups on issues that are general and not private. We should look into developing a secure section of the province web page where we can have blogging of ideas. If ever there is a need for a video presentation for example from the provincial or District superior, this presentation can be made on YouTube and then attached to our Internet communications.

Thanks to Skype we can have video presentations and communication over large areas. Skype can be used for communication within the province as well as among the other provinces here in the USA and also communication around the world with other SVDs.

Thanks to digital cameras, photos and videos can be used in all our presentations.

The province website can be a source of information for province members as well as those inquiring about the work of the province from outside.

Mass media in our parishes and ministries

2.   We can effectively use mass media also in our parishes and  various ministries. Facebook is a very effective way of communication for  small groups within the parish with issues that are general and not personal. Facebook and emails are also good ways of notifying many people of the parish of larger gatherings.

It's very important that every parish have a webpage. Here information is given about times of Mass, access to the Sacraments, how to visit the parish and the various ministries that one would like to participate in. The website can be a place of communication of the pastor and various leaders.

Today's large screen televisions can be purchased and placed in the front of church.  We can have PowerPoint presentations of music, readings and even video presentations of activities in the parish. These screens can be used as a way of enhancing the message of the sermon. In the long run, this can save money by eliminating the need for missaletts and song books.

For members of the parish who are homebound and not able to attend a Sunday Mass, there is a free program called ustream.tv. With this program a camera can be set up in the back of church or in the choir loft connected to a computer. Through this program, people at home can watch a live Mass through their computers.  This is a simple way of making the Mass available to those who otherwise wouldn't be able to share the community celebration. What would be important is having lay ministers presence at the conclusion of the mass to share communion with those who are sick and homebound. Having a person on the parish council whose role is communication and public relations is important. This person will help to know media outlets in the parish and work to initiate and improve all the communication possibilities.

Using mass media to evangelize those who do not attend church

3.   Mass media is an effective way of sharing the Good News with people who no longer attend mass as well as people who are non-churched in the Parish. The media can be a great tool of evangelization. One of the simple ways is placing presentations on a video through YouTube that is connected to the webpage. This can be sermons, teachings and music.  Another source of sharing the Good News is to purchase or obtain time on a local radio station and offer a  presentation. There is also the possibility of using television. The Sunday Mass on the local television station or even offering a presentation by the pastor or a Parish teacher is an effective use of mass media.

National and International broadcasts.

4.   Wordnet Productions is a ministry of the province that shares the Good News on a national and international basis through:

  • a weekly half-hour television program,
  • a daily Scriptural message on smart phones through an App called igodtoday
  • and the production of documentaries and other special television programs.

A weekly email blast is sent to all SVD's around the world. Those who open the email can view the weekly TV program. There are plans to soon have a live 24 hour webcasting station presenting various programs in line with the SVD charism. This will allow programs in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Tagalog and Polish.

We should encourage members to publish books and articles.

These are but indications of what could be done on a local and worldwide basis with judicious funding. We are presented today with financially viable options of carrying on the mission of evangelization in ways undreamed of by St. Arnold Janssen.

Submitted by m. manning, svd