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CAST 2021 grads told to enhance Church’s communications

By Kaelanne Jordan   Email:

Twenty-one participants from the Antilles Episcopal Conference (AEC) region were presented certificates of completion at their 6 p.m. graduation ceremony—albeit virtually— Wednesday, January 26 for their yearlong commitment in last year’s Communication for the Antilles Specialist Training (CAST) programme.

In giving greetings to the graduands via Zoom, AEC President and Chair of the AEC’s Commission on Communications, Bishop Gabriel Malzaire of Roseau congratulated the graduates for persevering till the end, and their commitment to working for the Church.

He commented, “I think you have come to an understanding of the indispensability of communications. That we are about communication, the Church is about communication, the Good News of Jesus Christ is about communications. And we have been given the privilege to use the modern means of social communication to enhance our mission and I think you are certainly well positioned to help the entire AEC to delve into that area.”

Bishop Malzaire shared he was “amazed” at the possibilities and creativity that went into some of the CAST productions. He mentioned while there has been an enhancement “of the use of social media during the pandemic, and especially during this time of Synod”, he hoped graduates will continue to showcase how to spread the Good News through the productions they have so creatively done.

Referring to Pope Francis’ World Communications Day message, in which he commented “we are losing the ability to listen to those who are in front of us, both in a normal course of everyday relationships and when debating the most important issues of civil life,” SIGNIS President and CAST Principal Lisa Bhajan shared that the facilitators felt conducting a communications course online might be one of the “major drawbacks” of the programme.

“But now that we have come to the end of the year and now that we have seen the final projects you submitted, I look in awe at the human psyche and how we have the ability to adapt,” Bhajan said.

She asserted, “As I looked at those videos and the mind maps that you created…the multimedia campaigns and the flow charts, I just sat back and smiled to myself and said ‘they got it. They really listened and they got it….’”

The viewing of the seven video productions on Synodality followed with facilitators sharing compiled feedback on each video.

Participant Miriam Juarez from Belize shared, “It was a new experience for me. At points I got frustrated but it was very exciting to be part of the group, to see the different skills and talents needed in the communications part of the Church. It’s not something I explored before in listening to the different perspectives and having different experiences with the group….I hope that in the future we can continue to work together.”

The CAST Programme is a comprehensive communications training programme, which began with an orientation session on Saturday, January 16, 2021.

A total of 28 participants participated in the orientation, coming from Arch/dioceses: the Dioceses of Willemstad, Curacao; St George’s-in-Grenada; Roseau, Dominica; St John’s-Basseterre, Antigua & Barbuda; Belize City and Belmopan, Belize; the Archdioceses of Castries, St Lucia; and Nassau, The Bahamas.

CAST will run for three years, each year taking in a new cycle of students. The aim of CAST is to create production resource pools to assist communication growth in the region. The programme focuses on training participants in four areas of communication: production (editing, camera operations), social media, audio, and print media.

CAST 2022 is scheduled to commence with orientation March 7, and its first session on Production, Wednesday 9.