By Rose Achiego, AMECEA News Blog
AMECEA Bishops gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for their 19th, Plenary Assembly have been challenged to explore digital media for evangelization.
In his presentation on behalf of the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Communication of the Holy See, on July 16, 2018, Rev. Fr. Paul Samasumo said that on May 4, 2017, Pope Francis in his message to the Secretariat for Communications, during the Dicastery’s first-ever Plenary Assembly said that, given the new digital culture throughout the world, digital media would need to be part of a primary platform for spreading the Gospel.
Fr. Samasumo added that, Pope Francis in his message of May, 2017, also made clearly his wish that attention and care be accorded to countries with little access to new digital technologies promising to support African countries which have not so far embraced the use of digital media.
“The reform of the Vatican media would neither neglect nor abandon such countries – a significant number of which are in Africa. Vatican Radio to this day continues to broadcast on new digital platforms but also maintains its traditional outlets such as shortwave frequencies for countries that still need this service,” he said.
Fr. Samasumo assured AMECEA to count on continued collaboration with the Dicastery for Communication, hoping that in future, there can be more collaboration in making of the World Day of Social Communications – a day that celebrates the Holy Father’s message.
“Apart from bringing the Gospel message and the Holy Father’s voice into the homes of Catholics, the Dicastery is determined to bring to the world, news about the vibrant Church of Africa – in all its successes, blessedness but also with its challenges and pain,” he said.
He also said that it was wonderful that AMECEA is meeting in Addis Ababa at a time when Eritrea and Ethiopia are making peace.
“Pope Francis summed it all when he said, two weeks ago, “In the midst of so many conflicts, it is right to point out to an initiative that can be defined historical -and we can say that it is good news: In these days, after twenty years, the governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea have come back to talk about peace together. May this meeting kindle a light of hope for these two countries of the Horn of Africa and the entire African continent”, he said.
He prayed that the existing collaboration between AMECEA and the Dicastery for Communications of the Holy See not only continue but also grow in strength.
Meanwhile, SIGNIS President Helen Osman said she was delighted to learn that, in 1961 at bishops first plenary, the first priority of AMECEA was to establish media at the service of the Church.
“Your recognition of the use of communication technology and platforms was and is prophetic. Your vision for modern communications echoes that of Pope Francis’ vision,” she said.
Osman while acknowledging the use of media also cautioned the bishops that, like any tool, communication can be used for dark purposes as stated by the Holy Father:- “Communication technology, its places, its instruments, have brought with it a lengthening of horizons, a widening for so many people.”
She affirmed that the members of SIGNIS work on a daily basis to bring the best practices, both in technical applications and communication methodologies, in service to the Church. Promising support in different communication media.
“In general, we welcome exploring with you how we can assist you in using modern communications in all its forms: radio, television, print, cinema, and digital to evangelize and promote a world with vibrant diversity, equal dignity, and peaceful unity,” she said.