Three Practical Ways Church in Africa Can Boost Evangelisation Through Media

Investing in the media, training communication agents, and being innovative as a people of God are three “practical” ways the Church in Africa can realize to boost evangelization through digital culture, Bishop Lucio Andrice Muandula has said.

In his address at the November 18-21 Golden Jubilee of the Pan-African Episcopal Committee for Social Communications (CEPACS), the Local Ordinary of Mozambique’s Xai Xai Diocese who doubles as the first Vice President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) explained how the three ways can foster evangelization in Africa.

Investing in the Media

“As a Church, we must invest in the media if we are to be effective in proclaiming the Good News of Salvation to the ends of the earth, that is, to all the men and women of our time, especially those who feel excluded or marginalized,” Bishop Muandula during his address on Monday, November 20, the eve of the conclusion of the Golden Jubilee celebrations of CEPACS, an initiative of SECAM.

To achieve this, he added, the Church in Africa “must make a huge investment in the various forms of the Media at our disposal.”

“If we want to be in the media field as evangelizers capable of influencing the environment and culture of modern times, we must also invest in resources, both financial and human, to do it well and become the best in class,” the Mozambican Catholic Church leader said.

He acknowledged efforts towards the establishment of many Catholic radio stations, television, and other media platforms, and called for improvement in producing effective and quality content.

Specialized training for communication agents

The Church in Africa needs to prioritize specialized training for communication agents, Bishop Muandula said, adding that trained Catholic communicators would reach out to sources with the good use digital gadgets, going beyond “armchair” journalism.

“We must be above the level of armchair content producers and train our staff to the highest level, so that our message, the Gospel message, gets everywhere and gets a positive reception among men and women who want something different from the content that is often below the standard that floods social media today,” he said.

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Innovativeness and originality

“As a Church, we must be innovative and original if we are to promote inclusion and weave bonds of synodal communion with those who feel excluded or marginalized by the Church and society,” said the first Vice President of SECAM, who is among seven members of Preparatory Commission that was established to facilitate the realization of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.

He cautioned against rigidity, and added, “It is not enough to imitate the way in which the Church used the Media in the past.”

“We must always continue to innovate, until we reach a level of knowledge and media competence that makes us the best, in order to discover and reach new audiences, especially among people living in exclusion and marginalization,” he explained.

The 64-year-old Catholic Bishop who has been at the helm of Xai-Xai Diocese since his Episcopal Ordination in October 2004 underscored the need for the Church in Africa to go beyond technology, embrace digitality “made up of real men and women who bring with them their hopes, their sufferings, their concerns and their search for what is true, beautiful and good.”

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Held in Nigeria’s Lagos Archdiocese, the November 18-21 celebrations of the entity that has a membership of the eight Catholic Bishops at the helm of the Commissions of Social Communications in the eight regional conferences of SECAM and their President, was organized under the theme, “CEPACS at 50: Towards Promoting a Synodal Church in Africa through Social Communications”.

CEPACS functions mainly through the assistance of media experts and regional coordinators, who oversee the day-to-day operations of the Commissions of Social Communications in their respective regional associations of Catholic Bishops in Africa and its Islands.

It has distinguished itself in various ways, including coordination of the regions of SECAM, screening for scholarships, as well as the training of Catholic social communicators.