Hybrid evangelization suitable for the Church in Africa

As technology continues to transform every aspect of our society, the Church is also undergoing changes. At a webinar session discussing “the mission of the Church in a digital world,” one bishop pointed out that hybrid evangelization is appropriate for the Church in Africa, which is still developing digitally.

“In our context (Africa), we are still far from fully engaging in digital mission,” Bishop António Manuel Bogaio Constantino said on Thursday, May 24, during the webinar, emphasizing that in Africa, there are people in rural areas who are not technologically savvy, and those in urban areas who have embraced the digital platform.

Because all these groups of Christians must be reached for evangelization without leaving anyone behind, the Auxiliary Bishop of Beira, Mozambique, explained that there is a need to develop approaches that cater to both environments.

In his opening remarks, a member of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus (MCCI) highlighted that the delegates for the first session of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops held in Rome last year underscored that, “The digital culture represents a fundamental change in the way we conceive reality and consequently relate to ourselves, one another, our surroundings, and even to God.”

In the Synthesis Report compiled after the October session for the synod on Synodality, “Digital culture is not so much a distinct area of mission as a crucial dimension of the Church’s witness in contemporary culture. This is why it holds special significance in a synodal Church,” Bishop Bogaio stressed, adding that the Church in Africa must be aware that there is an emerging contemporary culture ushered in by the digital world, where youth are creatively immersed.

He further highlighted that the Church has not fully embraced this move since some people still fear the digital space. However, for “digital ministries to take a central stage in the mission of the Church in Africa, some concrete steps must be taken.”

The Church, through the General Secretariat of the Synod, has therefore tasked a group of specialists to study in-depth the theme of “Mission in the Digital Environment” and provide professional recommendations to the Holy Father on what the Church must do.

Bishop Bogaio, who has been the Auxiliary Bishop of Beira since 2022, revealed that the Covid-19 pandemic, which affected the entire globe, acted as an eye-opener and a moment to learn “the benefits of digital virtual platforms and the threats of the digital space.”

He expressed appreciation to the conveners of the webinar: The Association of Member Episcopal Conferences of Eastern Africa (AMECEA), the Pan Africa Episcopal Committee for Social Communication (CEPACS), the Africa Synodal Initiative (ASI), and the Association of Consecrated Women in Eastern and Central Africa (ACWECA), for their collaboration in addressing this concern.

The Bishop prayed for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as the Church in Africa embraces this new mission, emphasizing the need “to consider the missionary presence in the digital space.”


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