In its role in serving the Catholic Church in Buffalo, Daybreak TV Productions, part of the Office of Communications' job is to ensure it distributes not just entertainment, but accurate information about the Catholic faith to audiences. Since videographers, producers and others in the field of communications are laypeople and usually not as well versed in theology as clergy and men and women religious, this has led to collaboration between Daybreak staff and other departments in the Catholic Center.
Paula DeAngelis-Stein, senior producer and director for Daybreak TV Productions, has relied upon the knowledge of Sister Barbara Schiavoni, GNSH, whom DeAngelis-Stein refers to as the spiritual eyes of the Communications Department. Before this, Daybreak staff had consulted with Sister M. Loriette Tokasz, CSSF, business manager for the Western New York Catholic newspaper until 2015, for accuracy.
"I come up with the Facebook posts for Daybreak - not all, but some of them," DeAngelis-Stein said. "I'll go online to see the saint of the day and who's celebrating a feast day. I'll read everything online, then write up a post. I'm not sure if I'm writing it correctly, because I don't have a background in theology. Even though I'm reading it off a good source, I don't know if I'm interpreting it the right way."
When Sister Loriette served in the building, she read over these posts to ensure all of the information in them was accurate. After she left, DeAngelis-Stein worked briefly with Sister Jean Thompson, OSF, vicar for religious in the diocese, and Sister Jean gave some of the scripts to Sister Barbara to read. After receiving input from Sister Barbara, DeAngelis-Stein began to rely on her to a greater extent for this task.
"She'll correct anything that's written incorrectly," DeAngelis-Stein added of Sister Barbara. "She has always been really kind to me and encouraging. Every month, I send her up the stuff, and she marks it up and sends it back to me. She is the spiritual eyes for us, and me in particular, because I don't know if I'm writing the stuff properly. I wouldn't want to put something up that said 'Daybreak' and it's wrong."
Sister Barbara noted that while she is not "officially any kind of liaison or contact person" in this matter, she is happy to lend her help whenever Daybreak TV Productions needs it. "Really, any of us in the Faith Formation Office could do that. It doesn't just have to be me - my two colleagues, Mario (Vinti) or Maureen (Poulin), or (department director) Mary Beth Coates could do that," Sister Barbara said.
At the time DeAngelis-Stein approached Sister Barbara to help her with the social media posts, the two women already knew each other from working on daily televised Mass tapings, for which Sister Barbara has served as a lector. The Facebook posts have been about more than just saints, but also the feast days, Advent or Lent, or the Church year, or other topics such as social justice and Catholic teaching.
"I send two months to her at a time. I always say, 'Thank you so much, you're the best.' She responded to me like, 'I feel like part of your team.' It was just really sweet. She's such a sweet woman. I thought that's just somebody outside of our department who's spreading our ministry," DeAngelis-Stein said. "We get 'likes' on them. We get 'shares' on them. If you know who the saint of the day is, it might help you in some way to say a little prayer to them - today is St. Joseph, the worker."
Since the collaboration between Daybreak and Sister Barbara's Department of Lifelong Faith Formation has been fruitful, it has benefitted them and enhanced the feeling of camaraderie in the Catholic Center. "It's great to get help from other departments. It does enhance your sense of community, and it makes you feel like you have a friend upstairs, whom you can always turn to," DeAngelis-Stein commented.
Sister Barbara added, "We in the department feel that the Communications Department is a good partner to support the efforts of our office, and also the efforts of (diocesan offices of) Youth and Young Adult Ministry and Evangelization and Parish Life."