KRAKOW, Poland, July 27, 2016 – In an unprecedented move, the Church in the Philippines mounts its most extensive coverage of the World Youth Day so far by sending a 17-man media team to cover WYD Krakow from July 18 to 31.
Several of the five photographers, 4 layout artists and designers, and 8 reporters who comprise the team were part of the media teams that covered the previous World Youth Days in Spain and Brazil, the International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu City, Pope Francis’ pastoral and state visit to the Philippines, as well as the Synod on the Family in Rome last year.
Providing fresh news for several sites that have their base following in the Philippines: CBCPNews, Tapat, YouthPinoy, and The Jungle Post, the team members, who all went as members of the pilgrim press, provide an uncommon insight into the activities, the mood, the content, and general sentiments surrounding the biggest youth event in the world – a perspective quite different from that of mainstream media.
Hybrid media team
For the WYD Krakow head of coverage Chrixy Paguirigan, editor in chief of The Jungle Post, the team offers a multiplier effect to the graces of the WYD by echoing the message of the WYD events and catecheses through various platforms and media: videos, tweets, articles, infographics, photos to the young people who were unable to be physically present at the event.
“I believe that this group aims to evangelize online. To spread the Good News and amazing encounters of God’s mercy and love experienced through WYD,” explained the 21-year old who finds herself leading the team as a first timer to the WYD.
While the hybrid identity of the WYD Areopagus – YouthPinoy media team enjoys a unique bird’s eye view of the event, it also has its downside.
“We went as pilgrims as well so our schedule is very hectic and full, we are called to experience God through Poland and the people in it. So our time for the media work is lessened, we get home tired and we lack time to work… It’s hard [balancing] being a pilgrim and media personnel,” added Paguirigan, who is also the editor in chief of YouthPinoy.
‘Do not be afraid’
Bishop Bridgeport Frank Joseph Caggiano, who gave the catechesis at the Church of St. Bartholomew the Apostle in Mogilany yesterday morning, July 27, had a message for Catholic journalists who hope to show mercy and integrity in the practice of their profession.
“Do not be afraid for the world is filled with those who are blind.. Tell the truth and don’t be afraid, number 2, to ask questions. Ask questions of people in authority… Hold people accountable by asking courageous questions and always tell the truth,” added the prelate who gave a talk to Americans, Zimbabweans, Canadians, Filipinos, a group from the Middle East, among others.
He admitted the challenge to Catholic media practitioners today is “very difficult.”
For Fr. Maciek Konarski of the Saints Peter and Paul Church in Warsaw, who hosted a group of Brazilians and Filipinos during the pre-WYD Days in the Diocese, the need to proclaim Jesus online is needed now more than ever.
“Young people are more interested in talking about music, films than about their faith,” said the priest in an interview translated by Micha? Janczewski, a youth leader and lector.
According to him, it would be easier for young people to talk about Jesus if they see “famous people” doing it. While the media team may be far from famous, it aims to train the spotlight on Someone who ought to be.
“We also are called to maximize the existing platforms like social media and the internet so we can put God there, introduce God there and lead people active in cyberspace to God,” stressed Paguirigan.
At the WYD Krakow Opening Mass in B?onia Park, presided over by Cardinal Stanis?aw Dziwisz of Krakow, delegates from over 181 participating countries were acknowledged. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz/CBCPNews)