How do we promote reconciliation with creation to our fellow Jesuits in Asia Pacific? With imaginative and powerful images as the members of the Scholastics and Brothers Circle showed in the innovative campaign materials they developed during a workshop on Effective Communications held from December 19 to 30, 2011.
The campaign materials featured the image of the trinity looking down on creation, but superimposed into the lid of a trash bin, while asking “Did we create the world like this?” and a penitent at a confessional, confessing his sins, not to a priest but to mother nature in a clerical coat. Other outputs had practical yet very creative use of graphic design for daily concerns like garbage segregation or water conservation.
During the two-week workshop conducted by Jesuit Communications Foundation in the Philippines, the 21 participants from China, Korea, Indonesia, East Timor, Thailand, Myanmar and the Philippines learned the basics of creating a marketing campaign, including some practical know-how in graphic design, photography, photo editing and video production, as well as posters, brochures, photo essays and public service announcements.
Although previous communications workshops had focused on producing material for vocation promotions, the environment was chosen as this year’s workshop focus in line with reconciliation with creation being one of common priorities for the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific and the desire of the SBC to be of assistance to the Jesuit task force on ecology.
Divided into three teams, the participants chose to narrow their target audience to fellow Jesuits, believing that to be credible witnesses to the work of reconciling with creation, Jesuits have to walk their own talk. Without prompting, the three teams took different platforms for their campaigns: one focusing on the links of our environmental concerns to our spirituality; the other to our common lifestyles; and the last to our mission as Jesuits.
To have a better understanding of the workshop focus, the participants were given a general orientation on the recent document from the Task force on Ecology, “Healing a Broken World”, and the pressing environmental concerns in Asia Pacific by Fr Peter Walpole SJ. This orientation was supplemented with a tour of the Ateneo de Manila campus highlighting local university concerns around the environment such as water sewage treatment, garbage disposal, air pollution and on-campus biodiversity.
Other than the practical skills they learned over the two weeks, participants also appreciated the chance to befriend and work with formands from other provinces.
Said Sch Kyeong-Hoon Jeon SJ: “While some of us were a little worried about the outcome and became nervous because of the tight schedule, or others were the type of “just don’t care”, I can say that most of us enjoyed the workshop and expressed thankfulness to God and the Society to have this chance to learn and practise skills for more effective communication which surely help our present and future apostolate. Above all, I would like to stress the fact that we participants realized the friendship in the Lord despite such difficulties as diversity of participants’ backgrounds like age, language, stage in formation, knowledge and experience.”