(General Curia, Rome) – The meeting of the Commission for preparing a strategic plan for Communications and Media for the Congregation was held in Rome from 28 to 30 May, 2018. The meeting started with a talk given by Fr Michael Brehl, Superior General, to the 13 participants: 4 out of 5 Commission members nominated by the General Government from the conferences, 3 General Consultors, the Secretary General, the secretary for the evangelization of the Redemptorists, the secretary for the formation secretariat and the 3 members of the office of communications of the General Curia of Rome. Although the commission member of the African conference could not attend the meeting, the Conference was represented by Fr Nicolas Ayouba of the General Government.
Fr Michael in his talk spoke about the figure of St. Alphonsus, a man very attentive to what was happening around him, and how significant was the role of communications for him. What to preach, to whom and How, are the fundamental questions in the area of pastoral care that Alphonsus has left for us as a task for those who want to follow him. He always preached with simple words and using popular language. When St. Alphonsus reached a point that he could not preach any more he began to write books, the best media available for him, so that he could communicate effectively to the people. “Today, after the XXV General Chapter,” said Fr Michael, “as we are in the process of defining missionary priorities and apostolic priorities as well as preparing the whole Congregation for restructuring, we must keep in mind the example of St. Alphonsus.
The conference of Mons. Paul Tighe Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture on the theme “The Church in Digital Culture: Challenges and Opportunities” opened an interesting dialogue and was attended by other Redemptorist confreres and even students of the Alphonsian Academy, where the meeting took place.
The group worked under the guidance of Fr Brendan and Fr Biju, who presented a manual and a kit for Communications and Media so that the participants use them as a tool in the discussions in small groups. The manual clearly states the importance and necessity of a strategic plan for the Congregation and gives the guidelines in preparing a strategic plan that engages the Congregation in three levels: central, conferences and units.
The three days of meeting was almost like a workshop that helped the participants to understand different phases of Strategic Planning, giving light to the reality of the existing digital culture the challenges and opportunities that offer as. After three days of intense work, the group agreed upon the main guidelines of the Manual.
The group finally thanked Fr Biju and Fr Brendan for their work in the preparation of the material and the animation of the three days programme that helped all the participants. The planning of Strategy involves a process that engages the entire Congregation in some way and it is going to be a continuous task both for the commission and for the conferences.