There is much to learn about our Catholic faith

June 8, 2023 at 7:23 p.m.
There is much to learn about our Catholic faith
There is much to learn about our Catholic faith

By Rayanne Bennett

Earlier this spring, I was invited by the New Jersey Catholic Conference to be interviewed about Catholic communications as part of their Townsquare Video series.

Because the interview had the potential to call attention to World Communications Day on May 21, I gratefully accepted the invitation.  As much as I was looking forward to it, I must admit to feeling somewhat unsettled that I would be focusing on my own story.
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But in preparing for this interview, I was reminded of what first drew me to this work as a Catholic communicator and has continued to sustain me over the past 33 years. It dates back to when I was first hired by the Diocese of Metuchen and learned in short order that despite being a cradle Catholic, being active in my parish both as a youngster and an adult and even teaching religious education, I had no grasp of the depth of information that existed about the faith; of the messages and initiatives that our Church leaders communicated to guide us, and of the responsibilities that we shared as baptized Catholics to spread this information.

In my interview I point out that the members of our Catholic family are bombarded with information every day of their lives, and being able to push past that and impart important or helpful information in a way that they can access and engage with was an essential goal of the communications ministry.

This week, Catholic communicators from across the nation are converging in Baltimore for the annual Catholic Media Conference. An early panel discussion held this year expressed what I realized those many years ago.  One of the panelists, Gretchen Crowe, OSV News editor-in-chief who is beginning a two-year term as president of the Catholic Media Association, spoke about the difficulties facing Catholic media, and their consequences for the Church’s evangelization, including the closure of diocesan publications in favor of less expensive digital efforts or media products devoid of journalism.

She said, “Communications initiatives can find themselves as a low priority, or an inconvenient budget line item. But without the Catholic press, how will Catholics and others understand how an issue or an event in the Church, the nation or the world affects their lives?”

Crowe emphasized the role that Catholic media played in the forming of consciences, shaping of judgments and the growth in understanding of the Gospel and of Church teaching? Without the Catholic media, she queried, “how will (the Catholic community) be prepared to go out on mission sharing the good news in their community and beyond, which is of course the great commission to which we are called.”
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We are very fortunate in the Diocese of Trenton to have Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., who doesn’t just support Catholic communications as a concept, but fuels it with his own substantive work.  As a result, the Diocese has fostered the work of the Office of Communications and Media so that the faithful are able to deepen their understanding and commitment to the faith.

It is our hope that the faithful of the Diocese take full advantage of these resources and share them in an effort to build understanding and connection with all of our brothers and sisters.  Whatever media form or platform you prefer to access, when you consume and share Catholic communications, you are participating in a critical ministry of the Church.  We applaud you and we thank you. God bless!

My thanks to John Hardiman of the NJCC for conducting a great interview, and to our own Department of Multimedia Production for recording and producing the final product.  If anyone would like to view this video, you may do so on the Diocese’s video page:  youtube.com/trentondiocese.


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Earlier this spring, I was invited by the New Jersey Catholic Conference to be interviewed about Catholic communications as part of their Townsquare Video series.

Because the interview had the potential to call attention to World Communications Day on May 21, I gratefully accepted the invitation.  As much as I was looking forward to it, I must admit to feeling somewhat unsettled that I would be focusing on my own story.
[[In-content Ad]]

But in preparing for this interview, I was reminded of what first drew me to this work as a Catholic communicator and has continued to sustain me over the past 33 years. It dates back to when I was first hired by the Diocese of Metuchen and learned in short order that despite being a cradle Catholic, being active in my parish both as a youngster and an adult and even teaching religious education, I had no grasp of the depth of information that existed about the faith; of the messages and initiatives that our Church leaders communicated to guide us, and of the responsibilities that we shared as baptized Catholics to spread this information.

In my interview I point out that the members of our Catholic family are bombarded with information every day of their lives, and being able to push past that and impart important or helpful information in a way that they can access and engage with was an essential goal of the communications ministry.

This week, Catholic communicators from across the nation are converging in Baltimore for the annual Catholic Media Conference. An early panel discussion held this year expressed what I realized those many years ago.  One of the panelists, Gretchen Crowe, OSV News editor-in-chief who is beginning a two-year term as president of the Catholic Media Association, spoke about the difficulties facing Catholic media, and their consequences for the Church’s evangelization, including the closure of diocesan publications in favor of less expensive digital efforts or media products devoid of journalism.

She said, “Communications initiatives can find themselves as a low priority, or an inconvenient budget line item. But without the Catholic press, how will Catholics and others understand how an issue or an event in the Church, the nation or the world affects their lives?”

Crowe emphasized the role that Catholic media played in the forming of consciences, shaping of judgments and the growth in understanding of the Gospel and of Church teaching? Without the Catholic media, she queried, “how will (the Catholic community) be prepared to go out on mission sharing the good news in their community and beyond, which is of course the great commission to which we are called.”
[[In-content Ad]]

We are very fortunate in the Diocese of Trenton to have Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., who doesn’t just support Catholic communications as a concept, but fuels it with his own substantive work.  As a result, the Diocese has fostered the work of the Office of Communications and Media so that the faithful are able to deepen their understanding and commitment to the faith.

It is our hope that the faithful of the Diocese take full advantage of these resources and share them in an effort to build understanding and connection with all of our brothers and sisters.  Whatever media form or platform you prefer to access, when you consume and share Catholic communications, you are participating in a critical ministry of the Church.  We applaud you and we thank you. God bless!

My thanks to John Hardiman of the NJCC for conducting a great interview, and to our own Department of Multimedia Production for recording and producing the final product.  If anyone would like to view this video, you may do so on the Diocese’s video page:  youtube.com/trentondiocese.

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