An oblate broadcast media apostolate

The Oblate apostolate in Mass Media began as early as1947 when the Notre Dame Press was set up. A year later, the Mindanao Cross, “the little paper with a big cause” was published. Though compact in page size, it serves as a significant medium for bringing the Gospel closer to the hearts of people. On February 17, 1957, the local Oblate radio station DXMS was inaugurated as the first Catholic commercial radio station in the Philippines. Aware of the important role played by media in influencing opinions, interests, decisions and actions, the Oblates consistently integrated value formation in both print and broadcast media. Mass Media has no constraints laid on the type of information presented so that mass communication are manipulated by others to sell, prolong conflict by sensationalism, promote selfinterest for profit and cater to temporal and physical urges thereby throwing it into a negative light. Bishop George Dion, OMI, one of the Oblate pioneers who was called to Cotabato City to run DXMS in 1955 said with strong fervor and enthusiasm, “Instead of damning the media, get into it and purify it.” This legacy of utilizing media for evangelization has remained intact and responsive to present needs. The dynamic duo – Fr. Gaudencio “Denz” Basada, OMI and Fr. Angel “Don” Singco, OMI started a pilot broadcast “Barkada Ko Si Pads” on the first Sunday of Advent in 2014. Inspired by the ministry of Christ as a ministry of friendship which has no hierarchical levels, “Barkada” a Filipino term for clique or group of friends, and “Pads” – an informal and friendly address for a priest or “padre” was chosen as the title of the program. “Barkada Ko Si Pads” airs every Sunday, at 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. over radio stations DXMS in Cotabato City, DXND in Kidapawan, and DXOM in Marbel, South Cotabato. However, it has managed to reach an audience as far as New York, USA and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The wide reach of the program is enabled with the use of present day technology. The radio channels are accessible through the internet and facebook thus, live streaming of radio broadcasts with the use of computers and mobile phones are enabled and people from all walks of life are connected to the radio program. The program starts with a prayer, then a theme from the Sunday’s homily related to universal values such as love, forgiveness or peace, followed by an interactive portion on the questions given by the two engaging Oblates in Filipino and Visayan languages, and ending with prayer intentions from listeners. Fr. Denz and Fr. Don are based respectively in the parish of Pikit and mission station in Aleosan yet despite their full pastoral activities they spend time for the radio program and commute to the radio station every weekend. Preparing and attending to the radio program entails a lot of time and energy but, they find special fulfilment in this Oblate mass media apostolate. How can one deny this, if a farmer approaches you and reveals, “Pads, I listen to your radio program after tending to my farm animal/carabao.” Or when you receive a call from Manila on behalf of a parent overseas who wanted to know why the radio program was not on air the other Sunday (the only time when the duo had to attend to a simultaneous pastoral activity). The radio program may be extended from an hour to an hour and a half in the future with other Oblate ministries such as Youth, IP, IRD and Parish participating in the program for variety. KUDOS – Fr. Denz and Fr. Don! (moss)

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