Bishop Hartmayer discusses his new role on the USCCB communications subcommittee

Originally Appeared in : 9912-6/6/19

Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., was recently appointed as chair of the United States Conference of Bishops (USCCB)  Subcommittee on the Catholic Communication Campaign. Among its other functions, the subcommittee oversees the Catholic Communication Campaign national collection (taken up June 9 in the Diocese of Savannah). Fifty percent of proceeds collected remain in each diocese to support local communication efforts and the other 50 percent funds the subcommittee’s work.


Following is an excerpted transcript of Bishop Hartmayer’s discussion with communications director Barbara D. King.


What does the subcommittee on the Catholic Communication Campaign do?

So what the subcommittee does is it reviews the grants requests from various sources but mainly from the congregations and the committees within the USCCB to get their word out, whether it’s Hispanic ministry or whether it’s Aid to Eastern Europe or whatever they want to publicize and if there is an expense connected to it then my committee reviews the request and grants whatever it feels that it’s worth in terms of how we can provide.


Why was it vital that, when the Pastoral Center moved to its new location on East Victory Drive, efforts were made to equip a new studio/video production space?

I think it only makes sense if we’re going to do quality communications whether they’re audio or audio and visual, we need to have an adequate place and good equipment to do this because otherwise we would have to outsource it and to outsource anything that’s meaningful and well done and artistic and creative costs a lot of money, probably somewhere around three or four thousand dollars a minute when it’s all done.


Why are you on social media and why do you think your Facebook page has been so well received?

It’s been popular because it chronicles wherever I am, wherever I go to celebrate church anniversaries or confirm the young people of our diocese or celebrate the consecration of a new church. All of these are ways in which we can let our people know, locally here within the Diocese of Savannah and even nationwide, the kind of activities and ministries that are being conducted in our diocese.

You know there’s word of mouth, there’s being present at the event— people talk about it—but then there’s an awful lot of people outside of where that event took place that would not have access to the information. It may or may not be covered in our diocesan newspaper. Of course they get the film and the text on Facebook in real time. It’s done the day that the celebration took place. So it’s very current.


Why did you make an effort, when you became bishop, to ensure that every Catholic in the Diocese of Savannah receives the diocesan newspaper, the Southern Cross, which contains both news and catechesis?

Well I think the newspaper still has a purpose. There is a whole generation, if not more, that are not really too savvy or too comfortable going to social media for news. They would much rather sit down, as they have for years and years, with a cup of coffee at their kitchen table and read the diocesan newspaper as it comes in. And that’s just what they’re comfortable with and so I think the digital age is upon us but not everybody is on it or knowledgeable of it.

And so I still feel strongly that it should continue to appear in the homes of the faithful here in our diocese because it’s more likely to be read and read completely as opposed to just an abbreviated form on your phone or on your Facebook, and it doesn’t become old because it’s always there until you discard it. And so it’s visible more often than something that might be on social media. So I think the printed word still has some life left to it and we’re going to continue that.

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