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Asian bishops launch online courses for pastoral communicators

The Office of Social Communication (OSC) of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) launched three online courses for the formation of pastoral personnel in the region this week.

“Our God is a communicating God, and communication is central to the mission of the Church,” said Bishop Roberto Mallari, chairman of the FABC-OSC, in a message during the launch on Jan. 6.

He said the online program, which will be managed by the Veritas Asia Institute of Social Communication, will instill “dynamism among pastoral leaders in Asia.”

FABC-OSC established earlier established the Veritas Asia Institute of Social Communication (VAISCOM) to help uplift the skills of pastoral personnel for effective ministry in the Church.

The online courses are found on the institute’s website that was also inaugurated on Jan. 6.

Father George Plathottam, SDB, said the institute is “committed to form personnel for various communication ministries” for the Church in Asia through online, in-campus and in loco programs.

He said the institute will offer training support, support research, and follow up programs for pastoral communicators.

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“The current online mode of learning, although planned long before the pandemic, has become a timely and common platform of learning,” said Father Plathottam.

He said the program is a response to the need to equip church leaders to meet the challenges presented by new media and the diverse pastoral contexts in Asia.

Initially, three online programs — Basic, Advanced, and Diploma — are offered to students who can access video lessons, study notes, and other resource materials on the website.

Maryknoll Father William LaRousse, FABC assistant secretary general, said the new program is “timely and hugely beneficial” to the Church in Asia, especially as the federation celebrates its golden jubilee this year.

“Communication presents us new opportunities,” said the priest.

The online course titled “Communication for Pastoral Leadership” is set to begin in July 2021 although applications for admissions are already being accepted.

The courses were prepared by a team from the Salesian congregation under Father Plathottam with technical support from the Delhi-based Manna Media Hub, Manila’s Asia Pacific Consortium of Educational Research, and Radio Veritas Asia.

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