"You can never expand your network too far"

Eighteen diocesan communication officers met with CBCEW in September...

Tuesday, October 10, 2023
Naomi Archer-Roberts

Each month, the Diocesan Communications officers gather together online, along with the Communications Team from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, to talk about upcoming events, share best practices and learn from each other's experiences. Online is good, but in-person holds many graces and opportunities that aren’t available in an online setting.

So, after an invitation from Bishop John Arnold himself, the CBCEW Bishop for Communication, on Wednesday 27th September, I caught an early train from Newark Northgate, arriving promptly at Kings Cross ready to head over to Vaughn House, the curial offices for the Diocese of Westminster, and our home for the day. With numbers building as colleagues arrived from all corners of England and Wales, there were eventually eighteen of us “communications officers” (with varying titles, of course!), plus four from CBCEW, and joined generously for the day by Bishop John, who - as it transpired - as a young person studied at none-other than Ratcliffe College!

Julie Etchingham, a Presenter and Reporter for ITV, grew up in Leicester, attending English Martyrs Catholic Secondary. Having been given the “graveyard slot”, Julie more than defied the stereotype and completely captivated the room of professionals, sharing her personal experiences - highs and lows - of being a catholic journalist, broadcaster and - earlier in her life - student. One of the pivotal moments of realisation for her, in determining her career and calling, occurred during her time at English Martyrs, when she was invited by BBC Leicester to prepare a programme to be broadcast over Holy Week. Using her first-hand knowledge and lived experience of the Catholic faith, coupled with her passion for journalism and media, she seized the opportunity, spring-boarding a beautiful and winding journey in presenting and reporting, navigating the difficult, sensitive, careful reporting of the Abuse Scandal, securing the first ever British interview with Pope Francis, and of course, reporting on the Nottingham Diocesan Lourdes Pilgrimages and World Youth Day pilgrimage, as a young adult. In the spirit of the day, Julie shared some final advice, reminding us that as Catholics in communication “You can never expand your network too far”.

As space runs short, I’m reminded that shortly after this great ”away day” I was blessed to receive the apt words of Saint Francis of Assisi, shared via Sister Dorothy, who many of us will know.

"I have done what is mine to do, may Christ show you what is yours to do"

Saint Francis of Assisi      

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