ArchComms’ Mandate and Functions
The Archbishop’s Communications Office (ArchComms) reports directly to the Archbishop of Singapore.
The Archbishop’s Communications Office (Archcomms) manages the perception and image of the Catholic Church in Singapore including all aspects of the media that could affect the reputation of the 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.
In strategic alignment with the Archdiocesan Pastoral Vision our priorities are firmly in the areas of kerygma and didache. The mission of ArchComms is: Communicating Truth, Forming Faith. Touching Hearts. Enlightening Minds.
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 in 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 or directly from the Holy See Press Office.
Functions – Areas of Purview
1. Media Relations*
ArchComms writes and distributes News or Media Releases and responds to media inquiries. When called upon it oversees planning of News Conferences at the Archdiocese level, which could include the selection of particular sites for an event, arranging for banners, graphics and other collateral for the event; prepare information packets for the media and brief priests and lay Church leaders on key messages to deliver at news conferences.
ArchComms also arranges for official spokespersons of the Church to appear on local television and radio programmes where suitable. Team members monitor newspapers, television and radio news broadcasts, social media sites, blogs and various news outlets – to be on the alert to 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 websites and digital channels that help monitor what the faithful and general members of the public say about the Church. This 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.
3. Internal Communications*
In addition to conveying the Church’s messages to external audiences, ArchComms has developed and manages platforms to facilitate internal communications among church entities, such as the Archdiocese’s intranet, Catholic Life SG Facebook Page and the CONNECT eNewsletter .
4. Crisis Communications*
When an event occurs that threatens the safety of the faithful, members of the public or the Church’s reputation, ArchComms works with all Offices or Parishes in managing crisis communications.
Preparation in crisis communications will help church entities prepare for events such as an attack on the Church or a Parish, mass casualties or evacuations, accidental death on Church grounds, a possible layoff of Church employees, a breach or loss of sensitive online systems and data, allegations of misconduct by Priests, Religious or Church employees.
ArchComms is also a member of the Archdiocesan Emergency Preparedness Operations (AERO) with the key responsibility of facilitating communications in a crisis situation in the Archdiocese.
5. News and Events Coverage*
For Archdiocese level activities we provide coverage of 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 Publishing*
We develop and maintain over twenty official digital church platforms and channels, which include websites and microsites, social media accounts, mobile applications, electronic newsletters, an instant messaging channel and an online streaming platform (internet radio). These platforms and channels feature videos, announcements, media releases, scripture reflections, prayers, stories and testimonies.
7. Print Publishing – Catholic News
ArchComms is responsible for the publication and distribution of The Catholic News (CN). It oversees the CN’s editorial policy and ensures its compliance with Archdiocese goals and the laws and guidelines of the Newspaper and Printing Presses Act of Singapore. It also gives direction on the solicitation of advertisements, engagement of potential advertisers and approval of ad copy.
8. Faith-based Media Campaigns*
We conceptualise and maintain campaigns, where online activities are developed for the faithful. We also work closely with the other offices of the Archdiocese to help publicise and promote their activities and events
9. 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 . All these form part of the Archdiocese Intranet-like structure for collaboration.
10. Training for Offices and Parishes
To improve and align Communications and ICT practices across the Archdiocese, ArchComms periodically provides Church Organisations and Parishes centralised training, talks and workshops and topics like Communication Protocols & Policies; Social Media; and Web Content.
11. Volunteer Management
ArchComms invites and conducts the recruitment of volunteers. These volunteers support and extend the reach of the Office in the areas of social media, photography and videography of important Archdiocesan events; content generation of stories and teachings of the Church.
12. 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 talks, sermons or teachings of the Archbishop. Some of these materials are transcribed for further learning and reflection purposes.
ArchComms will be developing and maintaining the Archdiocese’s audio-visual and news clipping archives.
13. Information Communications Technology (ICT)*
Within ArchComms, the Information Communications Technology (ICT) office was established to enable the work of evangelisation, through the use, adoption and support of technologies throughout the Archdioceses. It helps with infrastructural planning and advisory with stakeholders, so that the workflow is harmonised, efficient and cost effective. The ICT Office supports the following (but not limited) services and initiatives:
Electronic Mail (email), Cloud Services, Data Storage & Recovery, Software, Hardware, Data Security and Best Practises
Wired & Mobile Telephony, Video Conferencing, Secured Networks and CCTV infrastructure
To facilitate the workflow for audio and video acquisition, edit, live streaming and archiving of content.
Not in ArchComms’ Scope
Owing to the shortage of staff and resources presently:
- ArchComms does not assist parishes and church organisations to set up or maintain their digital platforms such as websites, social media channels and mobile apps.
- We do not manage media coverage for local parish events (although for Archdiocese-level events, ArchComms 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.
- ArchComms does not provide Parishes and Church Organisations volunteers for news or editorial coverage, video or photography.
* Consultation: ArchComms provide these services to Archdiocesan organisations and parishes on a Consulting basis when resources are available.