The Asian Research Center (ARC) for Religion and Social Communication has published a new book called "Church Communication in the New Normal: Perspectives from Asia and Beyond."
This book shows how the church talks to its followers and the rest of society, which helps people deal with the problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was officially released online on October 19. Over 102 people from Asia and other regions of the world participated.
Devine Word Father Anthony Le Duc, editor and executive director of ARC, summarized the book, and some contributors shared their thoughts.
In his opening remarks, Father Le Duc said that this academic work is the result of scholars from Asia and other places working together to show the different ideas, approaches, and models that the Church used to communicate during the COVID-19 pandemic and how this experience helps to inform the communication work of the Church in the future.
"This volume takes ‘communication’ as the keyword for the various research and reflections on the life and mission of the Catholic Church during the pandemic as well as post-crisis," he said.
According to Father Le Duc, the church's communication in the book consists of "words and images that the Church transmits to the faithful and to the world to help the people cope with issues brought about by the crisis."
He said that the book shows how the Church communicates with her people to restate and affirm life-nourishing messages creatively with every human event—big or small.
"It has to do with pastoral and evangelistic work done by the church and its members to keep the church alive in the face of a grave situation of forced isolation, with pastors and members of the flock giving in to COVID-19, closed church doors, and unlit altar candles," said the priest.
"This research book talks about communication models and strategies," he said, adding how the Church and its leaders use technology to build ecclesial connections, nourish people's faith, and talk to individuals and groups to create a genuinely synodal church.
Father Le Duc concluded that communication also means sharing how the Church reads and responds to the signs of the times, turning raw experiences into valuable lessons, human suffering into saving grace, and pandemic isolation and division into greater post-pandemic interculturality, interdependence, and collaboration.
Commenting on the book, Peter C. Phan, the Ignacio Ellacuria Chair of Catholic Social Thought at Georgetown University in the United States, said that the book is the first to talk about how the Church in Asia could resume its prophetic mission, liturgical liturgy, and pastoral ministry during and after the pandemic.
The book, he said, is a product of excellent knowledge and pastoral sensitivity, not just for individuals who live and work in Asia but also for those living on other continents, both Christians and adherents of other religions, who fight for human development.
Based in Bangkok, Thailand, ARC is the only Asian research institute focusing on religion and social communication interfaces.
In April 1999, 23 Asian scholars came together at Assumption University in Bangkok, Thailand, to talk about "Church/Religion and Social Communication Research."
"Church Communication in the New Normal: Perspective from Asia and Beyond" is one of the center's most recent publications and journals. - Kasmir Nema
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.