Beginning today, close to 400 Catholic journalists, editors, media experts, television and radio broadcasters roll into town for the 2008 Catholic Media Convention at Toronto’s Sheraton Centre Hotel. This three-day Catholic Convention, hosted by the Catholic Press Association of North America, the Catholic Academy for Communication Arts Professionals, and Association of Roman Catholic Communicators of Canada – brings together experts in the fields of Catholic print and audiovisual communications, as well as Catholic communications / public relations directors - for the purpose of spiritual, economic and professional development.
Catholic Toronto has been preparing for this event for nearly two years and Joseph Sinasac, Publisher and Editor of the Catholic Register, and I, are co-host of the 2008 Catholic Media Convention. Together with our team of Catholic media leaders in Canada, we chose as the theme of this year’s Media Convention: “Proclaim it from the Rooftops.”
This year’s convention features a host of international media experts who will address the delegates. Keynote speakers include Canada’s own Dr. Margaret Somerville, founding director of the McGill University Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law, in Montreal and a professor in both the faculties of medicine and law at McGill. Other keynote speakers and distinguished guests include the Vatican’s Cardinal John Foley, Archbishop Claudio Celli, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications at the Vatican; Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., Director of the Holy See Press Office, and Vatican Television and Radio.
The Apostolic Nuncio (Papal Ambassador to Canada) Archbishop Luigi Ventura, Toronto’s Archbishop Thomas Collins, Ottawa’s Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J., and Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., are all part of the line-up of Church leaders who will be welcoming and addressing delegates and presiding at liturgies at various times throughout the week.
What do Catholic journalists do when they get together at such a convention? They have workshops on topics such as “Critiquing Your Newspaper: Design Advice Tailored to your Publication” to “Youth Appeal: Making Room for Young Talent” hosted by Toronto’s own Catholic Register and the Canadian Salt + Light Television Network. Other topics include: “Evolution of a Story” with CTV National News Anchor Lloyd Robertson, CBC Radio Senior Producer Peter Kavanagh and John Turley-Ewart, Deputy Comment Editor of the National Post. More workshop topics address themes like: “Media Approaches to Covering the Big Event, focusing on the U.S. papal visit, World Youth Day 2008, and the upcoming Synod of Bishops on Scripture”; “Mainstream Media: How Hostile Are They, Really?”; and “Pope Benedict and the Media.”
But don’t think that it’s all work and no time to experience Toronto and Ontario! Evening liturgies and Masses at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Cathedral and historic St. Paul’s Basilica will be followed by banquets, entertainment by the Governor General’s Foot Guards, renown composer and singer John Michael Talbot, and a special evening at Toronto’s Distillery District. Tourism Toronto and the Ontario Government are special sponsors of the 2008 Media Convention.
The Catholic Media Convention 2008 in Toronto owes its existence to a collaboration that is rare in any part of the publishing world. In fact, collaboration has been a fact of life among Toronto Catholic media for years. In preparation for this year's convention, a group of about 10 Catholic media began meeting 18 months ago. It included representatives of The Catholic Register, a national weekly newspaper based in Toronto; Salt+Light TV, Canada's national Catholic television network; Novalis, Canada's largest Catholic book publisher; the Daughters of St. Paul, who operate a well-known book and media store; the Archdiocese of Toronto communications office and the Catholic freelance writers' community. In this way, professionals engaged in all aspects of communications brought their talents and knowledge to bear on the 2008 program.
The point of all this collaboration is to help all of those engaged in writing and broadcasting about the Catholic faith, both inside and outside the Church. In Toronto, those efforts continue to bear fruit in ways too numerous to mention. One of the unique aspects of the Toronto convention is our concern for the future, especially how we can reach out to the next generation and involve young adults in the mission of communications.
Fr. Thomas Rosica, C.S.B.,
C.E.O., Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation
For more information, go to www.catholicmediaconvention.org