Church media bring papal message to provinces
BAGUIO CITY—The Catholic faithful in upland communities of the Cordillera region who failed to see Pope Francis, received a blow-by-blow account of his four-day Philippine visit, courtesy of the Church’s media network.
Church-run radio stations like dzWT in Baguio City and dzPA in Bangued town in Abra province, sent reporters to a church media bureau and were tasked to broadcast all of the Pope’s activities, said Christopher Bartolo, dzWT news director.
The Baguio Cathedral (Our Lady of the Atonement Cathedral) also broadcast the Pope’s activities via live streaming on a giant screen it put up at the parking lot of the Church-run Porta Vaga mall.
These services were provided free in all provinces by media affiliates of the Catholic Media Network (CMN), Bartolo said.
“We also offered to share our material with commercial radio in the city. Why would we keep [footage and radio reports about the papal visit] to ourselves, when we want everyone to share this experience?” he said.
Medium for evangelization
The CMN, which controls 49 FM and AM radio stations in the country, serves as the medium for evangelization of all Catholic vicariates, he said.
Many CMN reporters have covered previous papal visits.
Baguio City, for example, was host to Pope John Paul II in 1981, and dzWT was tasked to handle reporting for the church media when he held Mass at Burnham Park here, Bartolo said.
“At the time, no one had mobile telephones. However, dzWT was equipped with semi-wireless transmitters so we managed to provide good reportage of John Paul’s Baguio visit,” he said.
Recounting the same story during his program, Bartolo said: “Pope John Paul’s airplane landed in Loakan Airport and must have seen that crowd, so he later asked to go down Session Road after the Mass to meet the people who could not be accommodated at Burnham Park. The Baguio government obliged and drove him through downtown Baguio in a motorcade.
Garments on display
To show his appreciation, John Paul, who became a saint of the Catholic Church last year, donated his vestments to a Baguio official, who put the garments up on display at City Hall, he said.