Working in a Catholic environment was a whole new world to me, which is why I am thankful for professional development opportunities such as the Catholic Media Conference (CMC). The CMC offers various sessions that help attendees fine-tune their skills in areas such as public relations, crisis communications, writing, videography, and photography, to name just a few. Filled with this smorgasbord of learning opportunities, the Catholic Media Conference is definitely a place to cultivate your communications skills.
At the 2015 Catholic Media Conference in Buffalo, New York, I was extremely impressed with the session on “Social Media and the Vatican.” After hearing from the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Bishop Paul Tighe, I was inspired to take social media to the next level. Bishop Tighe strongly encouraged all Catholic professionals to engage with their audience on social media - “as we need to meet Catholics where they’re at”. The example of Pope Francis’ social media channel, was an eye-opener for all in the room. Several attendees were awed by the number of followers the Pope had gained from simply posting his positive quotes as “tweets”. We were given the “inside scoop” on the Vatican’s use of social media to make the church more accessible.
In addition to the several sessions offered, there is also an opportunity to hear from inspiring keynote speakers each year. At the 2016 Catholic Media Conference in St. Louis, Sister Helena Burns, also known as ‘the media nun’ reminded us that beyond our passion for the media our duty is to serve Christ and the Church. What I loved most about her talk was the reminder that we, as communication professionals, need to “shut off” our electronics every now and then to connect face to face with family and loved ones. Apart from the skills and professional development opportunities, these conferences push us to grow personally and spiritually, which is what our faith is really all about!
For me the most enjoyable part of the conference is the new perspective gained through meeting other like-mind Catholic professionals in the communications field. Networking opportunities and the free time allotted during the conference has allowed for new friendships to form. With the many challenges faced when promoting the Catholic Church, I found new vision and inspiration from others who have faced similar challenges. It is encouraging to see that there are so many of us trying to find ways to bring Christ to the world through new media.
Whether you are new to the Catholic communications world or have been in this field for several years, this conference definitely has something to offer each time. Being a member of the Association of Roman Catholic Communicators of Canada, gives you access to register for the Catholic Media Conference. And the best part is, you get to visit a new city each time you attend! We hope you will consider attending CMC17 in Quebec City.
To learn more, visit http://www.catholicpress.org/page/CMCinQuebec