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A Workshop on Public Relations and Crises Management was held at ‘Anugraha’, the Udupi Diocesan Pastoral Centre for the Udupi Diocesan priests on 16th August, 2023.

Most Rev. Dr Gerald Isaac Lobo, Bishop of Udupi Diocese; Msgr Ferdinand Gonsalves, Vicar General of Udupi Diocese; Mr Amith Prabhu, Renowned Public Relation and Reputation Management Professional Gurgaon, New Delhi and Rev. Fr Denis D’Sa, the PRO & Director of Social Communications Commission were present on the dais at the Inaugural program.

The PRO Fr Denis D’Sa, in his opening remarks told the participants as to why this program is relevant and urgent. He said that in a world of digital revolution, we the priests cannot afford to lag behind while carrying out our Pastoral and prophetic ministry. It is imperative that we manage any crisis with a team of people rather than keeping silent and making the situation worse. The terms Public Relations and Social media are no more terms of the corporate world only; the Church too needs to be in the media and enhance her image with timely interventions and messages. To be on the same page of the Youth and Children we need to be well-versed with the media language which is the language of the present generation.

Bishop Gerald in his presidential address said that unless we are familiar with the modern media and social media we will be outdated and out of context. We have an added responsibility now to speak like Prophets, to speak the truth which many of the media avoid telling the public. Jesus was messenger and message himself. Hence as followers of Jesus our behaviour in public should match with that of Jesus our Master. When we live in a world of fake stories we need to be cautious and be on our guard.

After the inaugural program Mr Amith Prabhu, the resource person of the Day, made a well-researched presentation explaining to the audience the key concepts of Public Relations like Communication, Campaign, Content, Common Sense, Connect, Crises, Counsel, Strategy, Storytelling, Impact, Innovation, Influence, Research and Ethics. He said all these technical things are necessary but Public relations is much more than these. It is 90% Behaviour and 10% the other things. He also said that we must earn the goodwill and respect by being credible people. Credibility brings in Trust and Blind Faith in us.

Moving on to the subject on Crises and reputation management, Mr Prabhu spoke on the definition of Crisis, levels of Crisis, types of Crises, the Phases of Crisis (Pre, in and Post) and how to manage this crisis. He gave 10 examples of Crisis, their management and mismanagement. He also gave the tips and tricks of Crises or Reputation management. He suggested to have a team ready to diffuse any crisis for which speed, facts, confidence etc are very important.

At the end a team of younger clergy was given the assignment of visualising 50 worse crises our Diocese can face in the near future and what is the protocol to be followed in those crises situations.

In the question-answer session that followed Mr Prabhu clarified many a doubt that the participant priests had regarding the Public Relations, the necessity and urgency of it, how to manage a crisis situation in the Parish and Institution context etc. the workshop which began at 10 am concluded at 5 pm in the evening.

Bishop thanked the resource person. He also urged the priests to take the topics and issues dealt with in the workshop seriously and not to wait for any untoward incident to happen. He also announced that a follow up session will be held in the last week of November 2023

The workshop ended with the hymn O give thanks to the Lord……

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