Monday, June 30, 2008

HERO AWARDS on July 4th

Here is an article that was published in The Tidings this week ( about The Hero Awards. It's true, it will be up against the Boston Pops on July 4th, but if you have TiVo, or a way to record one and watch the other, this show is excellent. The stories, vignettes, really speak to conversations about character.


Sr. Rose

'Heroes' honors ordinary who do the extraordinary

By Sr. Rose Pacatte, FSP

A new awards show has been born in Hollywood. I was privileged to be present at the Universal Hilton June 13 for the taping of an inspiring evening honoring ordinary people who have done --- and continue to do --- extraordinary things.

On July 4, the 2008 Hero Awards --- sponsored as a fundraiser for Feed the Children ( --- will air in Los Angeles on Channel 13, 8-10 p.m. This new awards show, hosted by actor Dean Cain, star of "Lois and Clark: the New Adventures of Superman" --- features numerous stories, often in re-enactments and interviews. Among them:

---Corben Whitney, an off-duty CHP officer from Fresno, was recognized for pulling a family out of a burning car, especially the youngest child who was caught in the strap of his car seat. Facing intense heat, Whitney succeeded in saving the child who sustained second and third degree burns but is recovering.

---Dr. Sean Boutros is a Houston plastic surgeon who chose his field because, as he told me, "I first wanted to be a heart surgeon. But I discovered that heart surgery is quite repetitive. Plastic reconstructive cranial and facial surgery lets me apply principles over techniques to give children a new start in life."

In one case Boutros worked with a Houston hospital to give Daniel, a four year-old Kenyan boy who had been attacked by a dog, a new face and ear. Dr. Boutros also travels nationally and internationally to offer his services free of charge and to train other doctors in this field.

---When Leana Beasley had a grand mal seizure in 2007, "Faith" Beasley, her Rottweiler service dog, pushed a special 911 button on the phone and barked into it. Faith then rolled Leana into a recovery position and waited near her owner until help arrived. When I asked Leana what she would like to tell readers of The Tidings, she replied that faith saved her life. "Even when you lose everything," Leana said, "don't give up faith because you can get everything back again."

Other inspirational stories include a teen musical prodigy who uses music to encourage young cancer patients, and a train-loving fifth grader created a foundation funded by recyclables to take sick and underprivileged children and adults on the train ride of a lifetime. A parade of average people --- kids helping kids, a man dedicated to healing and caring for endangered grizzly bears, doctors offering life-changing procedures to cancer patients, community activists and educators --- are recognized for amazing acts of heroism, uncommon generosity and humble service.

These stories and more are linked by the reflections of such celebrities as Bryant Gumbel, Joan Lunden and Iron Man's Faran Tahir. Musical performances --- "The Rainbow Connection" by composer Paul Williams, songs by American Idol contestants Bo Bice and Ace Young, and the title song "Heroes" by the Greater Los Angeles Gospel Choir --- round out the show.

Youth preparing for confirmation, as well as catechists, volunteers, teachers and anyone who enjoys true inspiring stories will want to tune in to this unique awards show. The 2008 Hero Awards is a meaningful way to commemorate the July 4 holiday.

(This show has a BK rating --- "Bring Kleenex.")

Daughter of St. Paul Sister Rose Pacatte is director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies in Culver City.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Media Literacy Master Teacher Certification Course 2008-2009

Registration is now open!

Master Teacher in Media Literacy Education Certificate Program
Specialization in Media Literacy Education Certificate Program

The 3rd Saturday of each month
10:00am – 4:00pm
September 2008 – June 2009

(The first class is on Saturday, September 20, 2008)

The aim of the Master Teacher Program in Media Literacy Education is to “train the trainers” to teach others media literacy skills for home, school, and the parish through various ministries.

The certificate is recognized by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Department of Catholic Schools and the Department of Religious Education for continuing education and recertification

The Diocese of Orange recognizes the Certificate for r e-certification of the Basic Catechist Certificate and fifty-one hours towards the sixty hours required in advanced methodology for the Master Catechist Certificate.

The Diocese of San Diego recognizes the Media Literacy Course as a Catechist Specialization

The syllabus, calendar, course requirements, tuition, and registration form are detailed at:

The deadline for registration is September 10, 2008.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tribute to Tim Russert:Sunday Morning Tim Russert Academy of Public Affairs


            Tim Russert (1950 - 2008)


I haven’t missed Meet the Press in 12 years. After Mass it is an essential part of my Sunday morning ritual. I am listening to MSNBC’s ongoing coverage of Tim Russert’s sudden death today, June 13, as I am working. I have this great sense of loss, as if a family member has suddenly gone to heaven without warning.


Tim Russert’s passing has touched me deeply. As a Daughter of St. Paul, with our mission of evangelization with communications media, I have had an enduring interest in discovering integrity in journalism, and civility. Tim Russert lived these values.


The 1971 Vatican document Communio et progressio spoke about the necessity for people to have access to information so that they can take an active part in democracy:


If public opinion is to be formed in a proper manner, it is necessary that, right from the start, the public be given free access both to the sources and channels of information and be allowed freely to express its own views. Freedom of opinion and the right to be informed go hand in hand.” (para. 33)


Tim’s journalistic style seemed to have been framed by this teaching because he went after truth, transparency, and accountability in those in public service and/or the public forum.


As Andrea Mitchell said today, on MSNBC’c coverage of Tim Russert’s death, “Tim set the gold standard” for political journalism and analysis as the moderator of Meet the Press and NBC’s Washington Bureau Chief. Peggy Noonan, and others, commented beautifully on how Tim was a Catholic in the public forum with obvious joy – and without apology. I think it was Howard Feinman of Newsweek that said that if he ever thought of becoming a Catholic, Tim Russert would be the one he would follow into the Church. Cardinal John Foley, with whom Tim and his family had lunch a few days ago in Rome, concurred with the above and more.


Someone just called Tim “the great explanator.” Senator Joe Libermann called him “The explainer-in-chief.” With so much facility, and with dogged persistence, he got the facts and got at them for our information. He respected his guests but to the viewer’s benefit, he did not tolerate fools; he questioned them. What I most appreciated about Tim Russert’s style was that his show was not about him; he was not about his own celebrity. He let his guests speak and he drew them out. He challenged them with their own words but never “talked over” them like so many radio and television commentators do - to my great annoyance.


As a media education specialist I know that the news industry has agendas and perspectives, that ideology and ratings drive the business. So over my years at the Sunday Morning Tim Russert Academy of Public Affairs I tried out other Sunday morning news shows to compare them with Meet the Press, to make sure I was getting as complete a picture of our political reality as possible. But none reached the level of objectivity that Tim achieved. Even though Tim’s persistence or insistence that his guests pronounce on a hypothetical situation could sometimes push the limit, I think Tim’s integrity and professionalism ultimately won the day because he made people think. His technique of meaningful and civil inquiry taught me to think beyond the limits of information status quo. For Tim Russert there never was a status quo he couldn’t disturb.


A nun friend of mine sent me an email today saying, “Tim Russert was the best. Such an interviewer; a good man; a good Catholic.” 


A few years ago the Catholic Academy for Communication Arts Professionals honored Tim Russert with a Gabriel Award for Personal Achievement. You can see Tim’s acceptance speech in streaming video on where he talks about being a Catholic, meeting Pope John Paul II, and bringing The Today Show to the Vatican.


Tim Russert loved his family, his home town of Buffalo, New York, the Buffalo Bills, the nuns who taught him and his Catholic Jesuit education. How proud the Catholic community can be of this magnificent son. He has set the bar for people of good will everywhere who want to be political journalists. He was a mentor to his colleagues, a gentleman journalist who loved and lived his job with grace.  A role model for Catholics who want to make a difference and contribute to the common good. Information is power and Tim empowered us, the regular people out there, by pursuing truth. Above all, he was who he said he was. May it be the same for all of us.


Someone once said that a person doesn't die until they have nothing left to learn.


We offer our prayers for the repose of Tim's soul, and that the Lord may console his loved ones at this sad time.





Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Theology of Communication of John Paul II


John Paul II's Theology of Communication

Interview With Theologian Christine Anne Mugridge

By Carrie Gress

ROME, JUNE 3, 2008 ( The theology of communication is not merely Christianizing media-technology or scientific techniques, but rather an encounter with the living Christ, says theologian Christine Anne Mugridge.

Mugridge, a lay member of the Society of Our Lady of the Trinity, is an author of "John Paul II: Development of a Theology of Communication." Salesian Sister Marie Gannon, professor at the Pontifical Salesian University and the Faculty of the Sciences of Education "Auxilium," provided research for the book.

The text was published by Libreria Editrice Vaticana in honor of the third anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul II.

In this interview with ZENIT, Mugridge discusses the seminal work of a theology of communication found in John Paul II's pontificate.

Q: In your book, you focused on teasing out John Paul II's theology of communication. Did he speak of this theology explicitly, or is this something you were able to discover among his many homilies, letters, audiences, etc?

Mugridge: John Paul II spoke in terms that were explicitly theological in nature regarding the topic of human-social communications and the media of communications, offering us through his almost 27-year-long pontificate a great wealth of commentary and texts addressing the topic.

While he himself did not state the goal to develop a specific theology, from a compilation of John Paul II's theological work it became evident from both the organic development and strategic employment of a theology of communication that a new theology has emerged -- that is, formulated, actuated and lived -- through his efforts.

This advancement is the focus of the curriculum text wherein we site these findings and highlight the theological touchstones that reveal a working theology of communication.

Q: Is a theology of communication merely using social communication techniques to spread the Christian message, or is there more to it?

Mugridge: There is quite a bit more to experience that is provided through the understanding and application of John Paul II's theology of communication; this is not a mere Christianizing of the media-technology or scientific technique.

First, John Paul recognized that the ethical conscience of people today is disoriented. The theology of communication recovers social communications, if you will, precisely at the point where the understanding and activity of communications is linked with the moral life of believers.

John Paul II teaches us through a theology of communication that we must first encounter the living Jesus Christ in order to enter into the mission of Christ. God revealed himself through communicative terminology -- "the Living Word" -- to not only describe what he is doing in his Revelation, but more importantly who he, God is.

As we encounter Jesus Christ -- we are illumined in our understanding of not only what we are doing, but who we are as communicating persons, that is, as human persons in communication with one another and with our Triune God. The foundational structure of this theology of communication begins with the gift of the presence of Jesus Christ, and "The Encounter with the Incarnate Word." This encounter is most personally fulfilled in the Eucharistic Presence.

As a result, the theology of communication is a tool formulated in a truly interdisciplinary manner that will assist the Church/Christian communicator in dialogue with the culture of the media and the mediated cultures of the world today. Likewise, it is not strictly an academic study; but rather according to the method in theology evidenced, we may experience it as an organic theological instrument to better understand both interpersonal and social communications specifically in relationship to the communication of Christ both inside and outside the Christian community.

This important development allows for the technological use of the media to be enhanced as well as provide for a key link/bridge to be strengthened between the moral and ethical perspectives of social communications from both the theological and secular sciences; thus granting the Church the opportunity to communicate her message in a more meaningful manner in her mission.

All of us in the Church by virtue of our baptism are called to live the mission of the communication of the Gospel; that is the mission to communicate Christ. Truthfully, this is not a matter of application of technique so much as it is a matter of first contemplating God's Revelation in the Incarnate Word.

Q: You cite "Ecclesia in America" as a significant document to understand this new theology. What was John Paul II trying to teach the world, and in particular, America, meaning a united South and North America, through this particular apostolic exhortation?

Mugridge: "Ecclesia in America" is cited as a sample text for its demonstration of the presence of a working theology of communication that is a hallmark of the pontificate of John Paul II.

"Ecclesia in America" is likewise exciting because in it John Paul both expands and concretizes our understanding of how all can live more deeply the Church's nature and mission through his communicative strategy for the New Evangelization defined as "The Encounter with the Living Jesus Christ."

John Paul II is trying to teach the world that in its nature, we may see the Church as the lived communion of man with the Most Holy Trinity, and in its mission, we see this communion being brought to the whole of humanity in and through the Church.

This missionary mandate is given a new impetus in our age through the Holy Father's teaching on the mission to communicate Christ as expressed in the New Evangelization. In particular, John Paul speaks of all America as being one united people both North and South. He places this people under the patronage of Our Lady of Guadalupe as the Star of the New Evangelization, Mother of Hope.

Finally, in "Ecclesia in America," John Paul II asks the people of America to embrace the call to the New Evangelization with open hearts. Pope Benedict providentially inspired America to live more profoundly this reality in his recent apostolic voyage wherein he encouraged Catholics to live their faith in union with one another in and through "Christ Our Hope."

Q: How should understanding the theology of communication change the way those involved with social media think about their work and/or themselves with regard to Christ and the Church's mission?

Mugridge: The understanding a theology of communication offers the transformative gift like any applied theological study. Specifically, it more fully reveals to man his providentially ordained communicative potential and the profound truth and nature of man's communicative reality.

The simple key of "The Encounter with the Living Jesus Christ" that John Paul developed in his communicative strategy for this mission of the Church is a gift that is easily comprehended and applied to personal and social, secular and ecclesial communication experiences -- thus transforming the members of the Church personally and corporately.

Understanding this theology gives both those involved with social media and those involved in the Church's mission the opportunity to experience personal, ongoing conversion wherein Christ becomes the living presence who reveals a model par excellence for all human communication activities.

The knowledge and application of this theological perspective of being necessarily impacts our daily lives. This theological awareness provides the foundational platform into which we then incorporate excellence in communications science principles, methodology, theory and management in all our communicative activities.

Q: Practically speaking, how can the "theology of communication" be applied to diocesan communication offices, seminaries, media outlets, etc.?

Mugridge: The Church, as noted, has a keen interest in the science of communication. So crucial is the role of public relations and communications that the Church requested formally that an office be established in each diocese for such an operation as well as the development of a diocesan plan of communications and for the development of a theology of communication.

From this interdisciplinary study, there emerge new horizons of convergent platforms for personal formation, interdisciplinary dialogue and pastoral initiatives providing for a meeting ground between the Church and the media, what Pope Benedict has urged -- a new type of "info-ethics."

The practical applications of a theology of communication within the Church are numerous and rich; in the formation of priests for their own personal/pastoral growth, for use in all diocesan offices regarding the development of communications planning, in media outlets for ongoing maturing of personnel to obtain a more profound and integrated understanding of their own communicative potential and so on. We offer ongoing education seminars to assist leaders in the Church to understand this theological development and to better use the textbook in their own particular milieu.

Q: Finally, why do you think this new theology is coming now, at the beginning of the third millennium?

Mugridge: In actuality, the foundational structure of this theology is not new, but is integral to the existing patrimony within the Church.

What is occurring now is the new awareness of both the need for and the presence of this theology of communication as well as the integral role that the media plays as a fundamental piece of the answer to the "anthropological question that is emerging as part of the key challenge of the third millennium" which Pope Benedict refers to in his World Communications Day message of 2008.

"Humanity today," Benedict explained, "is at a crossroads. [...] [S]o too in the sector of social communications there are essential dimensions of the human person and the truth concerning the human person coming into play. [...] For this reason it is essential that social communications should assiduously defend the person and fully respect human dignity. […] The new media […] are changing the very face of communication; perhaps this is a valuable opportunity to reshape it, to make more visible, as my venerable predecessor Pope John Paul II said, the essential and indispensable elements of the truth about the human person."

According to John Paul II, the means of social communications must become a way of communicating the fullness of the truth of man as revealed in Christ, for this is the only authentic foundation for solidarity and the realization of the integral development of all humanity according to the divinely ordained potential and dignity of the human person.

The application of this theology as a communicative strategy for the Mission of the Church is a crucial bridge to the "info-ethics" so needed in our day.

--- --- ---

On the Net:

"John Paul II: Development of a Theology of Communication":



For information on how to obtain a copy of this book, visit the publishing house of the Vatican at: or

PaxBook.Com (distributing house for the Vatican)