See also past Guest columns.

Communicating amid diocesan belt tightening Print
Guest column
Thursday, Oct. 08, 2009 -- 12:00 AM

Editor's note: This is the first in a series of articles on how the offices in the Diocese of Madison are coping with the recent layoffs and financial cut-backs. Information will be included on what the diocesan offices continue to do for the diocese and its parishes. Offices will also indicate how people can help continue their mission through volunteer involvement.

Guest Column

We continue to spread the Good News! Like nearly every other business (for-profit and not-for-profit alike), the Diocese of Madison has undergone some difficult but necessary cutbacks. These changes have affected each and every office of the diocese, the Office of Communications among them, but we have work to do and we must continue that work.

The mission of the Office of Communications remains unchanged. It is to serve the bishop, offices, and parishes of the Diocese of Madison and participate in their universal mission to ensure that all individuals are graciously invited every day to meet the person of Jesus Christ "risen from the dead" face to face and to be changed by Him.

Spreading the Good News

Specifically, our office will continue to attempt to do this through representing the Church to the secular media, even when many media reporters and outlets do not want to hear the truth we present. We will continue to offer the truth in new, hopefully exciting, and always in loving ways. The Office of Communications has and will increasingly facilitate communication, in and among the parishes, and outside where needed.

We are currently re-working and evaluating the functionality, layout, and look of the diocesan Web site and changes will be made very soon. The Office of Communications continues to work closely with the Catholic Herald and with Relevant Radio, attempting to increase the number of well-informed Catholics in our diocese and to deepen their commitment to, and relationship with, the Lord, their Catholic faith, and their Church.

The recent financial and personnel decisions have most affected our office's goals to increasingly produce and distribute diocesan specific materials, e.g. audio, video, printed materials, and public advertising. These will continue to be priorities of our office, but they will necessitate your help.

How you can help

A small number of parishes have the capability to capture all homilies and catecheses on site, for inclusion on parish and the diocesan Web sites, or to be put on CDs or DVDs. We need more of this.

It is made possible though the generous sacrifice of a number of volunteers who take the time to record, edit, and post these recordings, as well as the generous donation of the needed technological equipment.

A note of special thanks needs to be offered to Brian Kelly, who has so generously made much of this possible in recent years, who has generated a demand for this material, and who is already greatly missed in our office.

Similarly, the Knights of Columbus, the Knights of Divine Mercy, some private companies, and some area faithful have very generously given resources to promoting life, love, and the Christian message on public billboards and radio waves. I personally thank you for this and ask others of you, who have the means to assist us with this effort, to bring Christ's love to everyone in our diocese.

Rewriting the communications plan

As we continue to lay out new strategies in these regards, the office will rewrite its comprehensive communications plan and publish it for all of you to see. If you are willing to assist the Office of Communications as a volunteer, or if you have other ideas as to how our office can better serve the people and parishes of the diocese, please contact us at 608-821-3033.

There have been a number of questions about how recent personnel and necessary financial decisions have affected the offices of the Diocese of Madison. The directors of the diocesan offices will attempt to answer those questions in a series of short articles in the Catholic Herald, from their office's perspective.

Brent King is the director of the Office of Communications for the Diocese of Madison.