FR. FELIX Pasquin, Bacolod Diocesan Mass Media director, noted that “A listening ear and an understanding heart” is the heart of Pope Francis’ message to the Christian world in last Sunday’s celebration of the 48th World Communications Day.

In his homily during the mass at the cathedral, Fr. Pasquin stressed the Pope’s call to the world of media to use the digital highway in reaching out to those who are hurting and are looking for salvation and hope.

True. I find it incomprehensible that in the 21st century there will be effective communication without computer education. Nowadays, it’s no longer sufficient to access the news from the so-called tri-media of print, broadcast and TV.

In the first place, very few people call it tri-media, as the priest in my parish said in his homily. The buzzword is “multi-media.” To that I mean not just the basics of pounding a QWERTY keyboard using a word processing software.

Multi-media, according to Wikipedia, means the learning process “that uses a combination of different content forms. This contrasts with media that use only rudimentary computer displays such as text-only or traditional forms of printed or hand-produced material. Multimedia includes a combination of text, audio, still images, animation, video, or interactivity content forms.”

Most of the Bacolod parishes now combine the singing of hymns and responses using multimedia mix of laptops, LCD projector, and PowerPoint.

Spreading the Word of God would require so much more than this simple mix. I pray that our clergy, especially the older ones, have to master the media.

I’m speaking with the voice of experience. Back in 1989, I started using a computer using DOS, WordStar and Word Perfect, expanded to database processing and spreadsheet.

Eventually, I moved on to internet in 1997, sending emails and gathering research materials for project proposal making.

When I went on a sabbatical at Columbia University in 2005, I have never used my library privileges to borrow books on its extensive library. Instead, I downloaded PDFs in the University’s computer lab and got updated with the Bacolod news through the internet. That’s how I learned that the two governors of Negros Island signed an agreement aiming to make the island an organic food bowl.

I seldom read the news from hard copies or the printed edition. I get updated from the online news posted by local, national and international outfits. Even with news video from YouTube.

On top of that, I connect with relatives, friends and colleagues through the power of social media, especially of Facebook.

I can appreciate what Frederick Amores, head of the National Computer Center-Visayas Group of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), said that in educating our youth, “we need to move from the traditional tools like books and blackboards, and embrace technology.”

“Everything we do now uses technology and it is better that we start with our students.” stressed Amores. “In order to compete in the world, we need to have a certain level of technology savviness,” he added.

Public school teachers—and those who communicate, including our clergy—have been urged to adapt to the advent of technology in teaching the students, and the public-at-large. Multi-media is the ticket to a continuing education beyond our formal schools.