Mandate and Functions
The Archdiocesan Communications Office (ArchComms) reports directly to the Archbishop of Singapore.
Mandated to manage the perception and image of the local Church, ArchComms also indirectly manages the reputation of the Catholic Church at large. The Office strategises how the faithful, our internal organisations, benefactors, collaborators, donors, church employees, government agencies, inter-religious groups and the general public – perceive the Archdiocese and the Universal Church.
Specifically, ArchComms seeks opportunities, explores and exploits cutting edge communications tools and develops platforms to effectively harness the power of one to position the Church in a positive light. It further assists the Archbishop to promulgate pastoral messages that help the faithful deepen their faith; non-believers to understand what the Church stands for and to present an alternative voice to atheism, secularism and relativism of the world.
For the Universal Church, ArchComms puts out and promulgates messages of the Holy Father received through the Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.
1. Media Relations*
ArchComms writes and distributes News or Media Releases and responds to media inquiries. When called upon it oversees planning for News Conferences at the Archdiocese level, which could include selecting a particular site for an event, arranging for banners, graphics and other collateral for and at the event; prepare packets of information to distribute to the media and prepare priests and lay Church leaders with key messages to deliver at news conferences.
ArchComms also arranges for spokespersons of the Church to appear on local television and radio programmes when suitable. ArchComms keeps a pulse and monitors newspapers, television news broadcasts, social media sites, blogs and other news outlets to see what the media is saying about the Church. This media monitoring is done to devise strategies to address misinformation or to request for a right of reply.
2. Public Relations*
ArchComms manages the Archdiocese’s website and other social media channels, and includes monitoring what the faithful and general members of the public are saying about the Church on social networking websites. Again this monitoring allows us to respond quickly to inaccurate posts or even requests for information. ArchComms also responds directly to calls and emails from the faithful and even non-Catholics with questions about some of the Church’s major activities or teachings.
Building relationships with all our internal and external audiences and responding to inquiries from the faithful and general members of the public all come under the Public Relations function of ArchComms.
3. Internal Communications*
In addition to conveying the Church’s messages to external audiences, ArchComms develops and manages platforms to facilitate internal communications among church entities, such as the Archdiocese’s intranet and internal blogs.
4. Crisis Communications*
When an event occurs that threatens safety of the faithful, members of the public or the Church’s reputation, ArchComms functions as lead agency in managing crisis communications.
Special training in the issues unique to crisis communication helps our church entities prepare for events such as an attack on the Church or a Parish, fires, mass casualties and evacuations, an accidental death on Church grounds, layoff of Church employees, allegations of misconduct by priests, religious or church employees.
ArchComms will engage specialists to provide the necessary training to church organizations and personnel in crises management; pre-incident, during and post crisis. It will partner civil agencies in the development of crisis communication plans.
ArchComms will also be a member of the Archdiocesan Emergency Preparedness Taskforce and act as a conduit of information to both internal and external audiences in any possibility of a crisis situation at any of our parishes in the Archdiocese.
5. News and Events Coverage *
For Archdiocese level activities we provide (digital news) coverage of Archdiocese level events like the Chrism Mass, Vigil Masses, Ordinations, etc. This may include video, audio and/or photography. These activities are then transmitted via the appropriate Archdiocesan digital media channels. The digital files are also retained for the Church archives.
6. Digital Channels*
We develop and maintain the official church digital platforms. For example, catholic.sg and its numerous sub or microsites; numerous social media accounts – Archdiocese Facebook and Catholic Life Facebook pages, Archdiocese Google, Twitter and Instagram accounts, and the soon-to-be-released Catholic SG mobile app.
7. Faith-based Digital Campaigns *
We also conceptualise and maintain campaigns, for example “Proud to be Catholic” where online activities are developed for the faithful. We work with the other Offices of the Archdiocese to help publicise and promote their activities – for example ONE’s Lent or Advent materials.
8. Communications Resources
We develop and maintain resources for Church organisations and parishes to use/adapt/adopt for their communications-related projects, for example, a stock image library, graphic design files, guides and best practices documents and Crisis Communications kit. This will form part of an Archdiocese Intranet-like structure for collaboration.
9. Training for Parishes *
To improve and align both our Communications and ICT practices ArchComms has pitched to Parish Districts to conduct the following training:
Communications Protocols *
Internal and External communications, Media Communications Policy, Crisis Communications Policies and Table-top Exercises
Social Media & Web Content*
Development, Content Production and Programming Strategies to connect, Communicate and Evangelise. Synergy and collaboration.
10. Volunteer Management and Training
ArchComms invites and conducts the recruitment of volunteers who are specialist communications professionals from all walks of life. These volunteers support and extend the reach of the Office in areas of social media monitoring, photography and videography of important Archdiocesan and parish-level events; content generation of interesting local and international stories of faith, teachings and works of the Church, writing and pitching interesting faith stories to international and local media to propagate knowledge of the Catholic faith to both believers and non-believers.
These volunteers provide: the much needed additional ‘eyes, hands and legs’ in areas of curation, transcription, archiving of speeches, talks and sermons; the contribution of ideas in the conceptualisation of faith-based campaigns and the production and post-production of short in-house video series.
Other specialists also assist in the area of ICT data security and privacy policies. Before recommendations are made to the Archdiocese and parishes, the assessment of IT infrastructure, testing of software and hardware concerning durability, sustainability and cost-effectiveness; are provided by some of our volunteers who ensure that once implemented, the Archdiocese has in place – systems that are resilient.
To ensure a holistic experience for our volunteers who give the Church their time and expertise, ArchComms – through another group of professional volunteers known as VITA Spirit – manages and provides – through proven and tested learnings; continuous faith formation and facilitation skills. For professional input, we hope to invite industry professionals to come to share updates on the latest media and ICT trends in the industry.
11. Media Information Management
Stories and Videos
ArchComms produces and post-produces in-house faith-based videos that provide the faithful with information and perspectives on the faith, faith journey stories for online sharing and dissemination.
Recording and Publishing
We also record or arrange for recording of His Grace’s talks, sermons or teachings of the Archbishop. Some of these teachings are transcribed for further learning and reflection purposes.
ArchComms will be developing and maintaining the archdiocese’s audio-visual and news clipping archives.
12. Information Communications Technology (ICT) *
ArchComms has also established the Archdiocesan Information Communications Technology or ICT Office. The ArchComms ICT Office is responsible for promoting and facilitating the adoption of Information Communications Technology (ICT) throughout the Archdiocese to enable the work of evangelisation, administration, security and archiving. It is currently responsible for providing ICT support to the Archbishop’s Offices, including ArchComms and ArchFinance.
There are plans to roll out services to help coordinate, promote, implement and support technology based initiatives for the Archdioceses, covering all aspects of Information Technology (IT), Communications and Broadcast. It also includes (but not limited) to the following areas:
Electronic Mail (email), Software, Hardware, Data Security & Privacy
Wired & Mobile Telephony, Secured Networks and CCTV infrastructure
To facilitate the workflow for video acquisition, edit, live streaming and archiving of content
The ArchComms Office also hopes to leverage on cost-saving large-scale purchases of software and hardware for the Archdiocese, negotiate contract agreements and corporate-bundling accounts for priests, religious and Church workers.
As ArchComms does not have sufficient manpower resources and operates on budgetary constraints, please note that ICT services will be provided on a cost-recovery basis.
Not in ArchComms’ Scope
Owing to the shortage of staff and resources presently:
- ArchComms at this time is unable to assist parishes and church organisations to set up or maintain their digital platforms such as websites, social media channels and mobile apps.
- Media coverage for parish events are managed by individual churches (although Archdiocese level events we may be called upon to provide advice and vetting of Media Releases).
- For Parishes and Church Organisations with their own resources: we do not provide editorial or PR services.
- Parishes and Church Organisations are encouraged to mobilise their own volunteers to assist in news, editorial, video and photography coverage.
* Consultation: We provide these services to all Archdiocesan organisations and parishes on a Consulting basis.