Tuesday, March 15, 2016


by Father Joaquim Fernandes


PUNE, MAR 15, 2016: The Indian Catholic Press Association convened the 21st National Convention of Christian Journalists on the theme "Christian Journalists and Family Values" from March 11 to 13, at Ishvani Kendra in Pune.


The keynote address was delivered by the Bishop of Pune, Thomas Dabre. He spoke on the recently held Catholic Bishops Conference of India, General Body Assembly which identified challenges within the church and the country, like the declining family values, growing materialism, consumerism and addiction to social media due to a decline of spiritual and moral values, growing indifference and lack of commitment to the Christian values and insensitivity regarding gender, caste, language, creed, status and religion. 


He enumerated that as Christian journalist, you have the responsibility to be persons of authentic Christian commitment and spiritual and moral integrity. As journalist you are expected to write in accordance with Christian values and principles. With all our strategies for justice and for redress of injustices and grievances, in the final analysis, Christ' message of forgiveness will bring peace and happiness to the world.


The next session was moderated by Dr Michael Gonsalves, senior assistant editor, Financial Chronicle on the theme, 'Journalists: Catalysts of Change' by Father Shiju Joseph, CSC and the Influence of Media on Families by Shashi Minz, ex-commissioner for Customs and Excise and Service Tax, Pune.


In the afternoon session, Father Joaquim Fernandes, SDB, regional delegate for Social Communications, South Asia spoke about 'New Media, New Cultures.' He spoke about the youth culture and fast changing culture of today's world and how the message and content is important rather than the gadgets. He enumerated the trends of Disruptive Management and how companies are getting defunct and outdated; and the new trends in the global industry impact family life and values due to the globalization process. The session was moderated by Father S M Michael, SVD, director, Ishwani Kendra.   


The next was a participatory session moderated by Father F M Britto. The experiences of Lawrence and Susan Coelho, Joyce Almedia, Ladislaus D'Souza and William Naidu were shared, who spoke of the impact of a Christian Journalist on family life.


The next day, Father Cletus D'Souza- and his team- from Sacred Heart Parish, Yervada, Pune spoke of their experiences on the importance of family life for children and youth today. 


The chief Guest for the Indian Catholic Press Association Award ceremony was Father Mohan Doss, SVD, dean of Theology, Papal Seminary. The Swamy Devanand Chakkungal Award for the best hindi journalist/author periodical was established in 2001 by ICPA with the support of the Indore Province of the Divine Word Missionaries, in memory of Father Devanand Chakkungal, SVD, a well known hindi writer.  


This award was conferred to Reggie David, for his outstanding contribution to catholic hindi literature. He is the Editor of the Jabulpur dicoesan magazine 'Sankalp.'  He is also the secretary of the Madhya Pradesh Hindi Sahitya Samiti.


The ICPA-CBCI SC/BC Commission Award was conferred to Kirubhai Bosso, a dalit activist and writer for his contribution to dalit causes and print media from Tamil Nadu. The SC/BC Special Award was instituted by the ICPA in collaboration with Catholic Bishops Conference of India office for scheduled castes/ backward classes to promote the welfare of the marginalised people.


The Indian Catholic Press Association (ICPA) elected former Editor of The Teenager, Father Alfonso Elengikal, as its President at the end of a three-day national convention and annual general body meeting held at Ishwani Kendre, Pune, March 13. 


The ICPA is a national forum of Catholic newspapers, periodicals, news agencies, publishing houses, editors, journalists, and teachers of journalism. It was founded in 1963 under the leadership of American Jesuit priest and founder editor of Sanjivan, Father John Barrett. It organises training and workshops and promotes ethics and values in the press and confers awards. Since 1995, the ICPA has held national conventions in different parts of the country on pertinent themes related to the press in India. 


Accepting his responsibility to lead the ICPA, Father Elengkal said he, along with the new team of office bearers would make every effort to strengthen the association by bringing together catholic journalists in the country.


Besides the president, the general body elected a 10-member executive committee to lead the ICPA for a three-year term. They are: vice president: Ignatius Gonsalves, secretary: Jose Vincent K J, joint secretary: Father Vijay Isaac, treasurer: Father Jayan Nakapuzha, EC member easter region: Father Francis Stephen, EC member northern region: Father Francis Arackal, EC member southern region: Sebastian Kallarackal, EC member western region: Father John Froz SJ, EC Member - institution: Father John Gilbert, SSP, EC member - women: Sr Benigna Menezes. This year the ICPA will shift its headquarters to New Delhi.

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