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Cardinal Sin, St. John Paul II remembered as CMMA celebrates its 40th anniversary

A screen shot from the GMA 7 TV coverage of the 1995 CMMA ceremonies with Jaime Cardinal Sin (left) and St. John Paul II (center)

Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA) highlights its bond with two great men who gave meaning and distinction to it as an awards giving institution.

Jaime L. Cardinal Sin, beloved Archbishop of Manila, is remembered with love and joy as the leader who established the CMMA in 1978, describing the awards as “a tribute to those who serve God through the media.”

The CMMA likewise has fond and proud memories of how twice, its awarding ceremonies were graced by the presence of John Paul II, one of history’s most beloved popes and now a saint whose holiness inspires the faithful.

The two great men of the Church are the most important individuals shown in a panel exhibit featuring posters and photographs showcasing some of the highlights of the 40-year history of the CMMA. Also displayed in the exhibit are the winners of the CMMA through the years and their winning works.

The Cardinal had established the CMMA in 1978, then on his fifth year as Archbishop of Manila. With the awards, he honored the men and women of the media who had made outstanding contributions through their respective fields of communication to country and the Church.

St. John Paul II, on the other hand, had two times personally handed out the Catholic Mass Media Awards to winners. The first was on Feb. 21, 1981, when he came to Manila to beatify Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Filipino saint, and to bring his message to the faithful in other parts of the country, He arrived in Manila on Feb. 17 and left on Feb. 22, 1981. Besides Manila, he celebrated mass and spoke to huge crowds in the cities of Cebu, Davao and Bacolod, the town of Morong in Bataan and Baguio City.

The second time St. John Paul II handed out the awards was in the course of his visit for the World Youth Day celebration. He stayed in the country from Jan. 12 to 16 and presented the CMMA to winners on Feb. 15 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) where he also celebrated a mass to commemorate the fourth centenary of the Archdiocese of Manila and the Dioceses of Cebu, Caceres and Nueva Segovia.

Photographs of these CMMA occasions are among 40, one for each year, displayed in the panel exhibit unveiled last May 12 to kick off the celebration of the organization’s 40th anniversary, which culminates with the CMMA presentation ceremonies in November this year.

For its initial showing, the exhibit was held at the Arzobispado in Intramuros, Manila, along with the celebration of World Social Communications Day by the Commission on Social Communications of the Archdiocese of Manila.

Fr. Jerome Secillano, parish priest of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Sampaloc, Manila, shared a reflection on Pope Francis’ message for World Communications Day which has the theme “The truth will set you free” (Jn 8:32).Fake news and journalism for peace.

Secillano said “there is a crisis of truth, not only fake news, right now.” Rooted not only in government but also in the family, offices, communities, even parishes, this crisis in truth can be averted “by going back to the church, to Jesus as the true repository of truth.”

In his own message, D. Edgard A. Cabangon, chairman of the CMMA, thanked the Archdiocesan Commission on Social Communications for sharing its event with the CMMA for the soft launching of its anniversary.

“The CMMA, as a project of the Archdiocese of Manila established by our late beloved Cardinal Sin, shares the Commission’s desire to put communications and the mass media at the service of Christian values.,” Cabangon said.

Under the guidance of Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, Cabangon said, the current board of trustees and officers of CMMA will strive to uphold Cardinal Sin’s vision of encouraging the media to exercise their responsibility in contributing to full human development and the uplifting of social values and norms.

Fr. Joselito Buenafe, trustee and chairman of CMMA Production, expressed the hope that those who viewed the CMMA panel exhibit, mass media workers in particular, would be encouraged to promote truth in their works.

Ambassador Antonio L. Cabangon Chua, founder of the ALC Group of Companies named after his initials, served as president and chairman of the CMMA since 1999, when he was appointed by Cardinal Sin, until he passed away in March 2016.-end-

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