Webster's Dictionary defines communication as "giving or exchanging of information by talk, writing, etc." That's what the 18 professionals in the diocesan Office of Communications do daily. The office's mission is to generate awareness of the global Church, universal issues and Gospel values through print and electronic media.
"The purpose of communication," said Father James Vacco, OFM, pastor of St. Bonaventure Parish, Allegany, "is evangelization." He explained that evangelization consists of information, formation and indoctrination. "All of this," he added, "leads people to a closer relationship with God and the Christian community." That fits nicely with what the Office of Communications does.
Father Vacco is this year's honorary chairperson for the Catholic Communication Campaign. Every June, the Diocese of Buffalo holds a second collection to support the campaign. Half of the funds collected stay in the diocese to help support the work of the Office of Communications while the other half supports national and international communication efforts.
How does the Office of Communications evangelize? The Communications' office consists of several entities covering all aspects of communications. The Western New York Catholic staff produces a monthly newspaper that is available in parishes, in all local Tops markets and online. Readers will also discover online photo galleries and articles that don't appear in the newspaper. Radio ministry provides programming on various stations. Listeners can hear "The Daily Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral" and "Mercy Times with Amy Betros" on WLOF-FM, "Western New York Catholic Weekly" on WXRL-AM, WJTN-AM and WCJW-AM, and "Catholic Today" on WLVL-AM.
The television portion of the Office of Communications, Daybreak TV Productions, provides "The Daily Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral" on Spectrum Cable; "Our Daily Bread," a monthly cooking show, on WKBW-TV Channel 7 and Spectrum Cable; the "Sunday Televised Mass" on WUTV Channel 29 and Spectrum Cable. Daybreak also has programming on their YouTube channel including "Consider This ...," inspirational messages from Bishop Richard J. Malone; "In a WORD" clips which are faith-filled answers to today's issues, and more.
In addition to the programming and print media, the Office of Communications also handles media requests and issues press releases. There is also social media, the way many people receive their news nowadays. There are several diocesan Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube accounts, many of which are administered by staff in the Office of Communications. A comprehensive list of diocesan social media can be found on the diocesan website, buffalodiocese.org/social-media.
Although communicating or evangelizing isn't always easy, these modern-day apostles don't let that stop them. It might not be easy because of the nature of what they are communicating, like the recent clergy sexual abuse allegations. It's not a pleasant subject; everyone is sorry that this happened and has severely impacted the victims, the Church, the clergy in general, and the lay people who work at the Catholic Center. Sometimes it may not be easy to communicate because of a shortage of manpower. In order to save money, the Western New York Catholic did not replace a reporter who moved on to a new venture and scaled down to a part time photographer. It's a challenge to produce a monthly newspaper with only one dedicated reporter, but the staff continues to fulfill the mission. The members of the Office of Communications want to deliver the Good News through print or electronically because without that, all the good gets lost with the negative news.
The Catholic Communication Campaign connects people with Christ and the good news.
Catholic Communication Campaign will be held the weekend of June 9-10 in all area parishes. Donors may also pay online below or send a check directly to the Communications office; checks should be made payable to the Diocese of Buffalo, 795 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14203. Please remember to indicate the Catholic Communication Campaign in the memo portion of the check.