By Jay Nies
From a series of online videos helping people prepare for Bishop W. Shawn McKnight’s arrival, to Holy Week messages on TV and social media inviting inactive Catholics back to the faith, the Church’s local communication efforts are tilling the soil for one-on-one evangelization
A significant amount of the funding for the diocesan Communications Office’s media evangelization efforts comes from contributions to the joint Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC) and The Catholic University of America Collection.
The collection will be taken up May 19-20, the weekend of Pentecost Sunday, when the Holy Spirit drove the Apostles from the Upper Room in order to spread the Good News of salvation.
Half of the money for the CCC portion of the collection will stay in the diocese to help pay for projects involving social media, video creation, TV, radio and print communications.
The other half will help support similar work throughout the nation and beyond. Money from last year’s collection helped pay for an exclusive local sponsorship for the diocese during NBC’s Easter Sunday broadcast of “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert.”
The sponsorship tied in with daytime and primetime TV ads featuring Bishop McKnight that aired during popular shows throughout Holy Week.
In these, the bishop invited Catholics who are not practicing their faith as well as those with no faith affiliation to “come home to the Catholic Church” at Easter.
Contributions also helped pay for strategic tie-ins on social media throughout Lent, inviting users to “clickthrough” to the diocesan website to find parishes located near them to attend Holy Week and Easter liturgies.
Deacon Dan Joyce, director of the diocesan Communications Office, also worked with the company that hosts the diocese’s website, diojeffcity.org, to make available an interactive map of parish locations and Mass times.
All of this led to a significant increase in visitors to the website’s parish locator page, stated Deacon Joyce, who also posted the 30-second video spots featuring the bishop on the diocese’s YouTube channel so people could share it with friends and loved ones.
Other locally-produced offerings that are still available on the diocese’s YouTube channel include a series of catechetical videos leading up to Bishop McKnight’s ordination and installation in February. Topics range from how bishops are chosen, the ancient symbols they use and the bishop’s relationship to the laypeople of his diocese, to a tour of the Cathedral of St. Joseph.
Future communications projects will include a series of locally-produced teaching videos about the Mass, as well as broader use of social media and tie-ins with The Catholic Missourian’s new online edition, www.cathmo.com.
Money from the collection also helps pay for scholarships for students at The Catholic University of America, located in Washington, D.C. The nation’s only university chartered by the U.S. Conference of Catholic