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Catholic Media School . . . Hopes To Become A Talent Hub For Catholic Apostolates Around Nation

January 7, 2018 Frontpage No Comments

By DEXTER DUGGAN

ESCONDIDO, Calif. — John Paul the Great Catholic University here always has aimed to prepare a primarily lay student body to evangelize society for Christ while working in the world.
Now it’s looking into attracting existing Catholic apostolates around the nation to congregate in this area, at least by establishing branch offices if not their headquarters, so the school could act as a direct talent hub for them, the school’s president told The Wanderer.
“Our big focus in 2018 is how can we be a hub of new evangelization and media,” Derry Connolly, Ph.D., said during a December 27 interview in his campus office on Grand Avenue, which runs through the center of town in this suburb amid California’s coastal hills, about 31 miles northeast of downtown San Diego.
Whether the topic is film, acting, writing, camera work or sound, Connolly said, “We have those resources in droves.” The school includes its own sound stage.
And its students who specialize in its business program could go on to careers in media companies.
Instead of Catholic apostolates around the nation having to recruit media staff however they can find them, Connolly said, the apostolates could be part of the action right here. In turn, he said, this could create “a snowball effect” and draw more students here.
The apostolates “can use our students and our facilities for production,” he said.
In 2006 the school first opened its doors to 30 students. Now, Connolly said, there are about 320 students.
The school’s website bills JPCatholic as “The Catholic Creative Arts School.”
Rather than prepare Catholic students with an academic degree who then would go knocking on doors to try to get a foothold in media to influence culture and society, JPCatholic makes media preparation part of the degree process itself, drawing some faculty from the Los Angeles-Hollywood entertainment complex up the Golden State’s coast to the northwest.
Its website says, “We’re shaping leaders and creators for the 21st century with artistic excellence, with inspiring and unparalleled innovation, building up an authentic Catholic community, and fostering an encounter with the transforming love and truth of Jesus Christ.”
The orthodox Catholic school (jpcatholic.edu) opened in 2006 in the Scripps Ranch neighborhood in a San Diego business park of low-rise office buildings and parking lots, with an academic focus on media and business, then moved to Escondido in 2013 to expand its campus and be right next to the energy of city sidewalks rather than parking lots.
During the December 27 interview, Connolly told The Wanderer, “God continues to bless us — continue to grow. We had another record enrollment last year.”
He said the idea to draw apostolates to this location for a talent and evangelization hub began evolving recently among JPCatholic faculty.
If an apostolate didn’t want to move its entire organization to this southern California suburb, Connolly said, at least it could open a branch office.
“We’re just about ready to hire a guy whose job is to build these relationships” with Catholic apostolates, Connolly said. “…We get a lot of requests from these guys (apostolates) to hire people” to work at their organizations.
Connolly said he hoped the concept of having a Catholic apostolate hub could take shape and expand as the EWTN Catholic network had done, developing into a worldwide presence from a very small beginning after a few nuns moved to Alabama decades ago.
“My 82-year-old mother absolutely loves EWTN,” he said, but young Catholics and others need to be reached with much greater development of a platform for online content.
This presents “a huge opportunity,” Connolly said, adding that the school’s namesake, St. John Paul II, spoke of the age of the new evangelization, “and he knew how to use media very well.”
It’s hard to believe that moving to southern California’s shirtsleeve weather in December wouldn’t be attractive to residents of other parts of the country suffering stubborn below-zero temperatures as the new year approached.
California, however, also is a major earthquake zone.
As longtime Golden State resident and commentator Barbara Simpson observed in her weekly World Net Daily column posted December 10, an earthquake is like nothing else among nature’s hazards, something that still leaves her petrified.
If an earthquake is a not-to-be-forgotten symbol of power and change, a Catholic apostolate hub as its own kind of spiritual earthquake could reshape the culture.

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