Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, SDB, President of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences (FABC), launched Radio Veritas Asia’s mobile app, October 11 during a Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral Yangon, Myanmar, commemorating the feast of Pope Saint John XXIII.
The Cardinal called the new communication technology apt to proclaim the Good News to all and invited all pastoral leaders and laity to make the new app “a spiritual companion.”
RVA is a continental media platform of the Catholic Church established by the Bishops of Asia in 1969. Cardinal Bo recalled that it was in 1958, during the pontificate of Pope John XXIII the idea for RVA as a major apostolic project took shape.
“It was Pope John XXIII who envisioned, inspired and gave shape to the Radio Veritas Asia as a powerful instrument to fulfill the apostolic mandate to proclaim the gospel in Asia,” the Cardinal noted.
Communication is always dynamic, so we have to constantly find new ways and means to proclaim the Good News. Cardinal Bo, a member of the Vatican’s Communication Department, said the mobile app is another expression of responding to this challenge and opportunity during a webinar soon after the Mass.
While expressing his happiness in launching the app and dedicate it to all God’s people in Asia and beyond, the Cardinal hoped the new app would become a “pastoral instrument of communication which shares the good news and touches the hearts of people who long for the liberating love of Jesus Christ.”
“I earnestly invite all in leadership roles to encourage the use of this very effective means of sharing the Gospel and make it known to everyone in our pastoral care,” Cardinal Bo said while holding up his smartphone and switching on the RVA mobile app logo. He invited all the bishops, priests, religious and laity to download the app and make it a spiritual companion “to proclaim the Gospel and the saving mysteries of Christ.”
RVA shares FABC’s mission to proclaim the Gospel to all peoples of Asia and beyond, engaging people in continuous dialogue with religions, cultures, and the poor.
Michael Unland, the Executive Director of Catholic Media Council (CAMECO), called the app a “historic milestone” in the life of RVA. He pointed out the uniqueness of the app as it can help to shape it according to the needs of its users.
As there are not so many continental initiatives of the church like the RVA, the app is a pioneering venture to start a digital conversation, he observed.
He noted that it can link and reconnect many migrant workers to what is happening in their local areas through digital networks.
Bishop Roberto Mallari, the chairman of FABC-OSC, hoped the new app would help realize the mission of Radio Veritas Asia to cross borders and share Christ through bringing the Gospel values to the people of Asia. He said RVA hopes to provide “proactive partnership in promoting the ideals and aspiration of the local churches and concerns to each other.”
The mobile app of Radio Veritas Asia is the pastoral means that can greatly contribute to the mission of bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all peoples of Asia and people everywhere,” said Father George Plathottam sdb, Executive Secretary, FABC Office of Social Communication. The mob app is an expression of our effort to respond to the new and ever-growing challenge of social communication,” he pointed out.
Father Victor Sadaya, the General Manager of RVA, called the virtual event historic. We are energized by another milestone in our efforts to remain abreast with the changing time guided by the Word and Spirit of the Lord, he observed.
Bishop Giorgio Marengo, Apostolic Prefect of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Bishop Oliver Michael, chairman of FABC-OSC from Laos and Cambodia, Bishop Shyamol Bose, Chairman RVA Bengali Service, who participated in the event, expressed their happiness at the launch of the app.
RVA has kept its mission to share Christ with Global Asians – first through shortwave and now online. The new RVA mobile app is one of our channels to continue with the mission while keeping up with the constantly changing times, said Father Bernard Dashi Tang, RVA Program Director.
The participants marked the online event with a digital photograph holding up their phones with the RVA mobile app on display.
Ethic Coders, a Catholic communication ministry headed by Shibu Devasia, developed the RVA App. “New mobile app users will be able to select the preferred language and programs,” Devasia said.
RVA offers services in English and 21 Asian languages: Bengali, Chin Falam, Chin Hakha, Chin Tedim, Hindi, Hmong, Kachin Jinghpaw, Kachin Lisu, Kachin Rawang, Karen Sgaw, Karen Pwo, K’Cho, Khmer, Mandarin, Myanmar, Sinhala, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Vietnamese and Zo.
RVA’s Assistant Program Director, Arlene A. Donarber, said according to Facebook analytics, RVA has 889,093 followers on Facebook as of September 2021. The data suggest that 71% of people access RVA via their smartphones. She set a target of 500 app downloads per month.
The key features of the RVA mobile app are inspirational messages, motivational quotes, in-depth learning about Scripture, inspiring stories of people, daily Mass, devotional prayers, and meditations. RVA mobile app will provide information about the Catholic Church through news, features, and commentaries.
Some 300 people participated in the Mass to mark the RVA new mobile app launch live streamed via the Radio Veritas Asia’s Facebook page from St. Mary’s Cathedral, Yangon, Myanmar. At the same time, around 100 invitees joined the official webinar after the Mass.