Addressing Bishops, Priests, Religious, Lay faithful, experts and professionals in church communications, who converged at the Holy Cross Cathedral, Lagos for the opening Mass to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of the Pan-African Bishops Committee on Communications (CEPACS), the Prefect, Dicastery for Communication of the Holy See, Dr Paolo Ruffini called on them to invent new ways of peer-to-peer communication that is based on communion instead of division: “communion among us, communion of the People of God, communion of the Family of God in Africa.”
At Mass, which was celebrated on Sunday, November 19, 2023 to officially commence the 3day event, the Vatican spokesman, explained that communication is not just about the media and information, but is profoundly realised in Eucharistic celebration.
“Communication, we all know it, is not just a matter of ‘media practitioners’. Communication is not only information. It is much more. It is the gift that God gave us, human beings created in His image, to be in relationships with one another, to build a community, and to weave communion among us. By celebrating the Eucharist, we discover the most profound value of communication. “Communication” and “communion” have the same root.”
“This fundamental vision of communication as a connection, as a relation, as a way toward communion, was also expressed by the pastoral instruction Communio et Progressio, which was written just a couple of years before the establishment of CEPACS.”
While emphasising that each one of them can contribute to making communication at the service of communion, Dr Ruffini disclosed it was for such purpose, that the Church established the World’s Communications Day, 60 years ago. He also added that communication is truly God’s gift that enables them to put in common what they bear in their hearts.
“Each one of us can contribute to making our communication at the service of communion. With this purpose 60 years ago, the Church has established the World’s Communications Day (Inter Mirifica n°18), which has a threefold purpose: to instruct all of us about our responsibilities in communication, to invite us to pray for this purpose and to allow all of us to contribute with our material gifts, with our gestures, with our talents.”
Paolo Ruffini who is the first layperson to head a Vatican department, also advised that synodal way of being Church needs to be cultivated, and communications needs to be cultivated in order for it to be at the full service of the Church and family of God.
In concluding his message, the Vatican’s chief communications officer encouraged them to support each other and expand awareness for the care of the gift God has given to them to build relationships. He equally charge them to engage the youths in their communications system so as to enhance wider spread of information.
“Therefore, I encourage you to support each other and expand awareness for the care of this gift that God gave to us to build relationships. Together, we can witness our being One, our being “members of one another”. Together, through the radio, through the web, and through social media, we can build a system with the mission of feeding the word of truth, based on the experience of Pentecost interwoven with the spirit of sharing instead of the one of Babel. Let us engage our youth in our communications system. Let the message travel from person to person as something beautiful because it is true. Beautiful because it is personally experienced.”
CEPACS which was founded by the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) in the year 1973 in Ibadan, is the African region’s arm of the Catholic Church that manages the operations of the communications apostolate in Africa and also oversees all matters concerning the activities in the realm of media in Africa and Madagascar – press, radio, television, video, traditional, social media, and a host of other new forms of media. Its Golden Jubilee celebration which started with arrival of delegates on Saturday, November 18, will continue till Tuesday, November 21, 2023.