The annual collection for the U.S. bishops' Catholic Communication Campaign is scheduled to take place the weekend of May 23-24, coinciding with World Communications Day, which is May 24 this year.
The annual national appeal supports efforts in the United States and around the world to use the media, internet and print publications to help people connect with Christ and "spread the good news."
"In these times, the support of the Catholic Communication Campaign is vital to help keep the faithful connected to our faith and for dioceses to communicate the Gospel through all available means," said Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer of Atlanta, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Subcommittee on the Catholic Communication Campaign.
"The CCC has long recognized the need to reach people and help them connect with Christ," he said in a May 18 statement.
The novel coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19, "has prompted life to change in dramatic ways for more than two months with an increased reliance on communication tools to stay connected," a USCCB news release said in announcing the 2020 collection. "Catholics and non-Catholics alike are using online tools to work and attend school, and stay connected to their families, friends, and their faith."
In response to COVID, the USCCB developed a resource page about COVID-19 with support from the CCC. In a section titled "Together in Christ" on the USCCB website, www.usccb.org, there are links for families, parishes and dioceses for prayer resources, livestream of Masses and catechetical materials.
"Thanks to the generosity of the faithful in the United States, millions of people throughout the world have been able to connect in new ways with the good news of Jesus Christ, especially in recent months," Archbishop Hartmayer said.
While many dioceses are beginning to issue reopening protocols for their churches as states themselves begin to slowly reopen, most Catholics are still unable to gather together in their churches for Mass. Several dioceses offer electronic offertory programs that include the CCC or other ways for parishioners to support scheduled appeals in the absence of collections during Masses.
Fifty percent of the funds collected through the CCC remain in each diocese to support local communication efforts. The other half is used to support national efforts in the United States and in developing countries around the world.
Among other projects supported by major CCC grants are two documentaries now in national broadcast television circulation: "Revolution of the Heart: The Dorothy Day Story" and "Walking the Good Red Road: Nicholas Black Elk's Journey to Sainthood."
Day was the co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement and is a candidate for sainthood. "Revolution of the Heart" was released to public television stations in March and has already exceeded 1,000 broadcasts nationwide, according the USCCB release. The film won the Religion Communicators Council 2020 Wilbur Award for best documentary
Filmmaker Martin Doblmeier ("An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story," 2017) wrote, directs and narrates the film. Actress Susan Sarandon, who famously portrayed contemporary Catholic social activist Sister Helen Prejean in the 1995 drama "Dead Man Walking," reads excerpts from Day's 1952 biography, "The Long Loneliness."
"Walking the Good Red Road" tells the story of Nicholas W. Black Elk, a 19th-century Lakota catechist who is said to have introduced hundreds of Lakota people to the Catholic faith. He also is a candidate for sainthood.
Black Elk was immortalized in author John Neihardt's classic 1932 book "Black Elk Speaks," in which he recalled the lost ways of Native American life. The documentary brings to light Black Elk’s conversion and his ministry to his people, which he carried out in collaboration with the Jesuits who served his Pine Ridge Reservation.
As of May 17, in cooperation with the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission, "Walking the Good Red Road" is available on ABC-TV stations nationwide.
The Subcommittee on the Catholic Communication Campaign oversees the collection and an annual grants program under the direction of the USCCB's Committee on Communications.