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Landry speaks on new Catholic Media secretariat

Scot Landry Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy

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Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley has announced the formation of a new cabinet secretariat for Catholic Media, which will oversee all the archdiocese’s broadcast, print and Internet presences. Scot Landry, currently the secretary for Institutional Advancement, has been asked to serve as secretary for Catholic Media. Following are email responses to questions submitted to Landry regarding the new secretariat and his role.

Why is Cardinal O’Malley forming this new group?

Cardinal Seán and Pope Benedict XVI recognize that the way people receive information and communicate with others has changed profoundly. This is particularly true when we think about reaching young people. The Holy Father has written about the need for our Church to utilize new media to share the Good News and to help people deepen their relationship with Christ.

Cardinal Seán seeks to make evangelization, particularly through new media, a priority. Throughout the Archdiocese of Boston, there are so many media efforts underway to share our great faith. My recent Pilot column (“The Promise and Power of Catholic New Media,” 5/14/2010) detailed many of these initiatives. It is Cardinal Seán’s belief that placing these entities together will lead to greater innovation, collaboration, effectiveness, efficiency and urgency.

Everyone that has been consulted and involved in bringing this idea to fruition is confident that this new initiative will allow us to reach more people with the Good News, inform and form Catholics more profoundly, and help them deepen their relationship with Christ.

Why do you think Cardinal Seán asked you to lead this new group?

I think Cardinal Seán sees the passion I have for utilizing media to share our faith. We have discussed many times my hope that we could devote more resources to these ministries.

He also recognizes how much I admire the great work being done at CatholicTV, The Pilot, the Catholic Directory, the website and various other communication initiatives.

And I believe Cardinal Seán respects that I lead initiatives in a consultative process that involves and includes our priests, parish staff, lay leaders, and ministry directors. For this media group to realize its potential, we will need help from all these groups and Church leaders.

What are the plans for the development office?

In the short term, members of the Catholic Foundation team responsible for the Catholic Appeal will continue in their duties until the 2010 appeal campaign ends in January. So far, more than $9 million has been contributed by 38,000 families in the first 3 months of the campaign. We still have a way to go toward our goals.

On a parallel path, the vicar general, chancellor and members of the Catholic Foundation Board will be leading a search for the next secretary for development. Some in my staff at the Catholic Foundation will be moving with me to the new media group but the transition will take a few months, as they will be assisting during the on-boarding process of the new development team members.

How do you feel about leaving the ministry of development?

I love working in development for the Church, so there is a sense of sadness in leaving this work. It is an honor to represent all the critical ministries funded by the Catholic Appeal. It’s been a joy to partner with many pastors and lay leaders as well as our team at the Catholic Foundation to improve the way we conduct our fundraising campaigns. It is inspiring to witness first-hand the love and generosity of so many to the Church.

I’m someone that likes to finish what I start. We are just beginning the implementation of the recommendations from the Improved Financial Relationship Committee, which is a critical initiative. Also, we’ve devoted a lot of energy to helping parishes increase their offertories and grand annuals those initiatives are now starting to gain momentum.

So, in many ways, the timing of this transition isn’t ideal. Cardinal Seán recognizes that. When we first discussed the idea of this new Secretariat for Catholic Media, I asked Cardinal Seán to let me continue to lead the Development Office while I devote more time launching the media initiative. However, Cardinal Seán thought that the need for this new media initiative was urgent and required a full-time leader. So despite our shared recognition that the timing wasn’t ideal for development, we decided to move forward with the Catholic Media group with full energy and seek a new leader for the development office.

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