EDMONTON – The Association of Roman Catholic Communicators of Canada (ARCCC) is aimed at fostering a common purpose among Catholic communicators across the nation.
ARCCC President Joe Sinasac joined the association in the late 1990s. He finds it beneficial because Catholic communicators are small in numbers, so supporting each other is vital. Through ARCCC, he continues learning from his colleagues across the country.
"Canada is such a huge country, and we work so far away from each other. Sometimes in distant communities it's very difficult for people to really know what others are doing. People can feel very much alone," said Sinasac.
Sinasac worked for daily newspapers for about 15 years, covering everything from sports to politics before transitioning to the Catholic press. He worked for the Kitchener-Waterloo Record, Windsor Star, and the former Southam News before becoming editor and publisher of The Catholic Register in Toronto. He is now the publishing director for Novalis Publishing.
The annual ARCCC conference was held May 10-11 at Providence Renewal Centre. Founded over 25 years ago, ARCCC brings together Canadians engaged professionally in Catholic communication.
"Fundamentally, ARCCC is an organization to help raise the professional standards of people engaged in Catholic communication, and to help them nourish their own spiritual lives and their own understanding of their role in the Church," said Sinasac.
Aside from the annual conference, a newsletter and newly resuscitated website allow for member organizations to stay informed.
"The website gives us a little forum for us to talk about things like this New Evangelization. Or, when the bishops of Canada or the Vatican release statements on communications, it gives us a way as a group to reflect how they will affect our work," said Sinasac.
Working for the Church is such a rewarding occupation for many people in Catholic communications, Sinasac said, "It's kind of an open secret that if they weren't paying us to do this, we'd probably pay to do it."
In 2008, in conjunction with the U.S.-based Catholic Press Association, ARCCC organized a Catholic media conference in Toronto attended by nearly 500 people.
"There's not a lot of us across Canada, but when we put our resources together we can do great things," said Sinasac.
He has met like-minded colleagues through ARCCC who have become his lifelong friends. A value of the organization is this gathering of kindred souls, he said.
Sinasac told his colleagues that he tries not to think of himself foremost as a professional but as a disciple of Christ. "We need to understand where we are within the Church. Our role as communicators is a service to the Church."
Eric Durocher, editor of the Montreal-based Catholic Times, said communicating the Gospel message has changed over the years, from a focus on television years ago, to websites in the 1990s to social media today.
But he cautioned that these new technologies are not a panacea.
"Just because you advertise doesn't mean someone is going to buy," said Durocher.
"Just because you put information out there doesn't mean someone will be informed. Just because you make the Good News available doesn't mean someone is going to be evangelized."