To see Catholic media
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
Today it is not easy to be a Christian when we are bombarded with a mass of information, with offers that should not be rejected and much work, the one we need and the one we do not need, as well as speed of life. When we slow down - yes, actually what do we do then? Today it is also not easy for a priest to fulfil his priesthood since he lives in the same information-advertisement smog and faces the speed of life, and his sensitive soul does not allow him go indifferently by human poverty. How to find time to breathe 'the air' in this 'twisted' daily life, which can give strength both to those who are tired and through them to others? I mean regular reading of Catholic books and press, which is like fresh air for every priest and for each of us, the air we need to live a worthy life.
A priest as a shepherd works with the faithful. He celebrates liturgy, delivers homilies, teaches, and turns believers' attention to important issues, even in seemingly less important parish notices. He should be aware of the mission of the Church and his mission among the faithful. Therefore, he is the first person who should have a proper attitude towards the Catholic means of social communication. Thank God, most priests offer several Catholic periodicals in their churches and occasionally, they offer books, calendars, etc. This is in fact another pastoral activity. If there is no offer, on leaving the church after services people sometimes go the nearest newspaper stand to buy something to read on Sunday but their choices do not always have the appropriate impact on human development. Priests should know and inform people about Catholic radio and television programmes. They should know what films they are to recommend to the youth, and tell them which things they should pay attention to or what is worth seeing on videocassettes. Naturally, priests should observe the issues, which are being discussed in the secular media, listen to believers' opinions about numerous daily problems and pray to God for every matter.
We have not got a carefully formulated programme of pastoral ministry through means of social communication although the Catholic Internet portals have done much. We also see religious billboards, Catholic songs enter song festivals (for example the song from the oratory 'Tu es Petrus' in the Sopot Festival), there are Catholic theatres (for example the Logos Theatre in Lodz, the A Theatre in Gliwice). But even if much has been done in this respect much more depends on the personality of priests, catechists, nuns who have received good formation as well as on laymen, including parents, who are conscious of their mission.
And contrary to appearances, the effects of our work need not be poor. Recently a few high school students came to our editorial board to help them decipher the meaning of certain phrases. They asked what 'Judas' silver coins' meant. When we asked them if they knew who Judas was they told us, 'We have not covered that yet'. And how can we help young people who have not even a basic knowledge about the Gospel? But there is another problem: what do they hear in their families? Is the parents' level of knowledge the same as their children's? In fact, such a situation is horrifying if I may use this popular word. By the way, recently we have published a booklet entitled '100 hasel. Przyslowia i powiedzenia z Pisma Swietego' (100 Headwords. Proverbs and Sayings in the Holy Scriptures) by Fr Stanislaw Sierla in our 'Biblioteka Niedzieli', and there is a continuous interest in the book 'Madrosc laciny' (Wisdom of Latin) by Brother Stanislaw Rybicki. Similar situation occurred in a class in one of the very good secondary schools, in which only one person knew who Fr Jan Gora, OP, was. Fr Gora is a well-known person, especially among the Catholic youth, among other things he is known for the television programme 'Between earth and heaven'. Lack of knowledge concerning the teaching of the Church, for example the knowledge of biblical terms, often affects the life of a young man. Questions concerning this field, which is a part of the teaching of history, are found in tests or heard in television contests. The lack of knowledge about the Holy Scripture and about the Church means gaps in the education of someone who regards himself as an educated person. No wonder, we also lose social and political matters. It is sad but our families are too little open to the Church and Catholic social teaching. We must struggle for well-educated families through good use of Catholic media, including the Catholic press. Today the Catholic press is fairly diverse, beautifully illustrated and certainly cheap. There are also papers for young readers, for example our editorial board publishes a monthly for children entitled 'Moje Pismo Tecza' (My Paper Rainbow). Moreover, we publish additional issues devoted to some topics or series. At present we publish the Papal Collection of 'Niedziela', which is coloured monthly inserts containing the thoughts of the unforgettable Pope John Paul II. In some dioceses people do not know where to buy our weekly. Therefore, we would like to inform that the weekly can be bought in the Ruch kiosks and the EMPIK bookstores. The Catholic papers do not publish sensational news but their aim is to revive the spirit of faith, thinking and imagination. They contain a lot of valuable information that gives witness to the level of man's culture. What else can we say? Readers of 'Niedziela' know everything about this topic. The problem is that readers of the Catholic media should be as many as possible.