The Commission for Information + Communication is dead... Long live the La Mennais Media Team!!
The Lamennais Media Team with Fabio (far left) our main website's webmeister and far right Fr. Louis Balanant, ex-Assistant General, current Congregation Bursar, assistant web designer to Fabio and prime mover in getting our first website up and running some years ago. Not bad for a guy in his mid-70s!
Here at last is some info (in note form) on the outcome of our 6 days of meetings in Rome (see a few articles back).
There was much brainstorming throughout the week as regards our publications, websites, blogs, other internet (web 2.0) media such as YouTube, Facebook, etc..., video resources in general, preparations for the 150 anniversary of our Founder's death next year in 2010, etc... Lots of ideas, lots of initiatives (some already under way) and an understanding of how important our work is to be for the whole Mennaisian family. Fr. Yannick certainly thinks so (= Superior General, with us in our meetings at the beginning and the end of our week).
We (the Lamennais Media Team) are to be a "laboratory" of ideas, a source of creativity, a channel of communication helping Provinces share resources and ideas aimed in particular at young people throughout the congregation, a think tank/sounding board for Michel Tanguy (a French layman, our lay Team Director and Director of Communications for our Congregations as a whole) to bounce ideas off. He is delighted to now have us helping him.
Bro. Guillermo (Uruguay) demonstrating to us the excellent website for our Argentina + Uruguay Province). See here. The opening animation is particularly impressive methinks.
We want to encourage + develop a greater thematic and practical integration of media resources (website, LMM, YouTube, Facebook, Mennaisian Studies documents, etc...), help with the design + content on the new congregation website that is being put together, get involved in the prep. for the 2010 anniversary + the our General Chapter 2012.... and more... inc. helping Bro. Francis Kiggundu (from our Team) improve his initial design for a Ugandan Province website.
Ouf!! "Du pain sur la planche" as they would say in France! Lots on our collective plate!
The Team infront of St. Peter's Basilica.
We will be communicating with each other between now and our next face to face meeting making use of video conferencing, Facebook chat, etc... so that we can more efficiently share ideas, though it looks like we will probably be meeting at least once a year. Possible next meeting in 2010 in Canada!
One afternoon during the week we spent 2 hours with none other than the Head of the Vatican Vatican Press Service (i.e. the Pope's press secretary/spokesperson), Fr. Federico Lombardi s.j. who also happens to be the Director of Vatican Radio + Vatican TV. Wow! I must admit I was rather gobsmacked that he was able and willing to take the time to speak to us. Some very interesting discussions ensued, especially in relation to the origins of Vatican Radio as a way of reaching out to Catholics in countries where they were being persecuted and were unable to receive the sacraments on a regular basis, and his explanation of current Vatican TV strategies in relation to their YouTube channel: no long documentaries, rather 2-5 min. clips with highlights of liturgies, Papal addresses/official visits, etc... Much more like a news channel composed of regularly updates news bulletins. The Vatican (as well as other Catholic news services) also feed clips to another YouTube channel, that of international catholic News Service H2Onews.
"Communication for communion" - a phrase Lombardi used to describe the work of Vatican Radio + TV. I suggested we take it as a motto for our team.
Together with Fr. Lombardi in the Vatican Radio press conference hall.
The same day as our meeting with Fr. Lombardi we also met with the Director of SIGNIS, the World Catholic Association for Communication. They would be able to provide our Developing World (Africa, Indonesia, parts of S. America...) missions with a network of satellite-powered, always on broadband wireless internet, reduced prices on hardware, training for indigenous people to allow them to install the equipment themselves, an in-house webmail service for those missions, tech. support, channels for getting grants to pay for all this, etc.... Bro. Francis' (Uganda) eyes opened wide. We will be looking into this as a real possibility.
It was on our last day of meetings that I decided to redesign this blog and try to make it more visibly reflect our Congregation's charism of evangelising and educating young people.
The title "Weaving a tapestry of relationships like Jesus" is a translation of our theme for the year in the Congregation "Tisser des liens à la manière de Jesus". The new logo that has been designed in conjunction with the presentation of this theme to the Congregation now appears in the banner at the centre of the top of this page.
I'll post a few more photos from the week here in my next article.