Manila (Agenzia Fides) - The Veritas Asia Institute of Social Communication (VAISCOM), established by the Office for Social Communications of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC), launched three online courses for the formation of pastoral personnel in the region. As reported to Agenzia Fides by the FABC, the President of the Office, Roberto Mallari, inaugurated the website www.vaiscom.org, illustrating the courses through the Zoom web platform on 6 January.
"Our God is a communicating God, and communication is central to the mission of the Church", he said, explaining that the new online programs "will instill dynamism among pastoral leaders in Asia, to help uplift the skills of pastoral personnel for effective ministry in the Church".
The Executive Secretary of the Office for Communications, Father George Plathottam, SDB, the institute is "committed to form personnel for various communication ministries, for the Church in Asia through online, in-campus and in loco programs". The current online mode of learning, although planned long before the pandemic, has become a timely and common platform of learning. The Institute, said Fr. George offers three specific programs, at different levels: Basic, Advanced, and Diploma in Social Communication. The intent is "to equip church leaders to meet the challenges presented by new media and the diverse pastoral contexts in Asia".
Fr. William LaRousse, Assistant Secretary General of the FABC, citing Pope Paul VI recalled that "the mission of the Church in Asia is for all peoples". The new training courses are, in the current phase, marked by the pandemic, "timely and hugely beneficial to the Church in Asia, especially as the federation celebrates its golden jubilee this year". The Information Communication Technology revolution - he remarked - represents a great challenge and a new opportunity for the Church in Asia and for her mission. "The Veritas Asia Institute of Social Communication is the FABC's answer inspired by the Holy Spirit to meet this challenge", he concluded.
The first online course titled “Communication for Pastoral Leadership” is set to begin in July 2021 and VAISCOM has started admission to the program. The course is very flexible and offers candidates the opportunity to complete the program at their own pace of study. 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 (RVA) based in Manila. (SD-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 7/1/2021)