A big box of Swiss chocolate for the participants at the Press Seminar
Seminar for press and PR work in Schoenstatt publicized the Golden Jubilee of the Shrine at Quarten
SCHOENSTATT, mkf. Only the Swiss chocolates were missing. The participants at the Press Seminar in Schoenstatt (this time only women attended) really earned it, because even the Jubilee Committee in Quarten could not have imagined how well known and loved the Golden Jubilee of the shrine would become in Schoenstatt and beyond since this seminar that took place February 19/20 in Schoenstatt. At the parallel Press Seminar in Quarten two weeks previously, the new book on Father Kentenich and Joao Pozzobon, entitled "Covenant Partners", was the subject of the PR exercises. This time in Schoenstatt - where the book already can be found in the book display in the Adoration Church and in Schoenstatt-Verlag - the subject was the Golden Jubilee of the shrine in Quarten.
"Our neighbours are celebrating a Golden Jubilee – the shrine in Quarten, Switzerland is 50 years old. For many of our readers, Switzerland and the Schoenstatt Centre in Quarten is a favourite holiday goal. On 10 September, just one week before our pilgrimage to Schoenstatt, the Swiss Schoenstatt Family is celebrating a big, international festival. The Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign of the Pilgrim MTA will play a central role. In much the same way as happened when we met our Archbishop Dr Zollitsch in 2004, and the pictures of the Pilgrim Mother in our Archdiocese committed or re-committed, so a Swiss bishop will commit the many pilgrim MTA’s in Switzerland once again, or for the first time.
Our sincere congratulations to the Swiss Schoenstatt Family! If you want to send your personal congratulations, you can do so at www.Schoenstatt.ch." This is how the recipients of the newsletter of the Schoenstatt Centre in Oberkirch, archdiocese of Freiburg, will get to know about the celebration in Quarten. This newsletter was the media chosen by those who were in charge to make known the event.
Using all the tricks of the info trade, the message of the unknown event calls upon all the well-known and well-loved subjects of the readers to draw attention to it. Not enough about that: If the team of the "popularisers" have their way, a busload of pilgrims will be on their way to Quarten!
Sales Professionals at work
How do you "sell" something when you only have a ballpoint pen or a label in your hands? This was the question of two who formed a team faced with the task of not only making known or popular the Golden Jubilee of the Swiss national shrine, but to "sell" it. The central question, thus: How do you make someone adopt it as "their own", so that they feel they want to participate or to do something for it? A central question indeed! All too often in their PR zeal people confuse (en alemán es "verwechseln") the task of publicising something, with that of "selling" it, that is, they awaken interest, but not the need to do something about it …or. All too often instead in their PR zeal people are not aware that publicising something is not the same as selling it: that is, they succeed in getting people interested or talk about it, but no require arises to "buy", to apply, to make the subject their own… Example: Everyone is talking enthusiastically about the new novena, but no one is praying it!
However, sales professionals do not give up. Getting a busload of pilgrims from Schoenstatt to Quarten seemed unrealistic, they thought, but it should be possible to sell articles advertising the Jubilee. The jubilee celebration in Quarten would also highlight the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign of the Pilgrim Mother, so borrow a car and go to Marienland to Sr Birgit-Maria in the office of the. In their newsletter those involved with the Pilgrim MTA would soon be able to read the following:
"The Swiss national shrine at Quarten will be celebrating its Golden Jubilee on September 2005. In 400 images the Blessed Mother is "on the way to you" in the three national languages. The co-ordinators , who meet every six months, have also scheduled their national meeting for this day. They want to contact more families, so that they will be able to reach their aim of 500 Pilgrim MTA’s visiting families in Switzerland, as their jubilee gift. The solemn Holy Mass in the afternoon will be the highlight of the day, during which the Pilgrim Mother pictures will be sent out again." Via the enclosed flyer the readers would be able to buy ballpoint pens, labels and writing paper with the motto "Touched by heaven".
A congratulatory poster in every Schoenstatt Centre?
While the participants of the seminar discussed the subject of PR work, a number of different goals were sifted through: sell, publicize, position, popularize, contribute. One team was given the following task: Position the Golden Jubilee of the shrine at Quarten in such a way that its importance for Schoenstatt become generally known.
The only working materials they received was a ballpoint pen with the motto of the shrine festival: "Touched by heaven."
The team designed a poster that was to be placed in House Marienland, and in House Sonnenau.
In Marienland, at this time an international Congress of Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary is taking place, the theme is their work in the Schoenstatt Movement. Of course, the team in charge of positioning the Quarten Jubilee found this to be an ideal place to "position" the jubilee!
The ‘Sonnenau’ is a house that is frequented by international groups, so it offers a large forum for making the subject known. The first congratulations were written by team members – to break the ice! "A poster like that will be put up in the Schoenstatt Centre at Stuttgart-Freiburg in the coming weeks," explained Anita Doll. "The Liebfrauenhoehe won’t allow themselves to be outdone, so one will also be put up there", replied Ursula Bauer. It was impossible to get Sr Regina-Maria Domberger to say that one would really be put up in Maria Rast. At any rate, the Swiss will be very surprised when such a large congratulation arrives in the post.
Strengthen community and achieve a more effective proclamation
The participants worked on the subject with great concentration until late in the evening and again on Sunday morning. They had to conduct an image analysis of the Schoenstatt Movement for women and mothers, or their own Schoenstatt Centre. They had to evaluate their self-assessment curve and that made by others and draw strategic conclusions from them, analyze related groups and the PR work designed for them, as well as the subjects that preoccupy the world, the Church, Schoenstatt and one’s neighbours. Finally preparing for and conducting functions for the press gave the participants plenty to do, discuss and sometimes despair - and then breathe a sigh of relief as the feeling that they could work more securely in the field of doing PR work for Schoenstatt settled in. Ultimately their aim is to help people in the spirit of the Blessed Mother to make contact with Schoenstatt’s stream of grace and life, and to make the Blessed Mother, Father Kentenich, Schoenstatt’s mission and its ideal of the new person, better known and loved. They should have that place in people’s lives that they deserve, and – also to "sell" them? Yes, they have also to be "sold", that is, people have to be won over to start living as new people in their everyday lives. "Do not be afraid of the new technologies!" we are told in the letter of Pope John Paul II of 21 February 2005 on developments in the media. He encouraged the laity and the clergy to make use of the internet, because "the Church is aware that using the techniques and technologies of communication in our times is an integral part of its mission in the third millennium. … Communication marks the fundamental fields of the Church, which is called to proclaim the good news of redemption to all. So make use the opportunities offered by the mass media. In them the Church sees ways given to us by God’s Providence to strengthen the community and achieve a more effective proclamation. The media can make the universal character of God’s people visible, and promote a more lively and immediate exchange between the local churches, and bring about mutual understanding and co-operation. Let us thank God for these powerful means. If they are used by Christians in the spirit of faith and according to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit, they can contribute to a further spread of the Gospel and strengthen the bonds between Church communities."
Father Kentenich saw communication and PR work in this way already in 1916. The Seminars for Press and PR work want to continue in some small way what he began.
The next Press Seminar from 19-20 March will deal with the subject "Life, where are you?", so write articles in such a way that life generates life.
Translation: Mary Cole, England
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