The week-long SIGNIS Africa Congress and Assembly of Delegates, which ended last week, has commended the Synodal way as a new way of being Church.
Catholic communicators were encouraged to embrace the Synodal process of inclusivity and participation. This is contained in a communique issued at the end of the SIGNIS Africa Congress and Assembly of Delegates held in Kigali, Rwanda, from 11 July to 15 July.
“In the spirit of Synodality, all Catholic communication structures in Africa need to make it their priority to introspect and bring about a more inclusive and participatory Church. This also means bringing more women and young people on board our governance structures,” said the newly re-elected SIGNIS Africa President, Fr. Prof. Walter Ihejirika, who signed the document.
The SIGNIS Africa Congress is also recommending to the continent’s Bishops that World Communication Day be commemorated in various African parishes for an entire week. This is the Nigerian and Burkinabe model.
“We recommend that all national episcopal conferences adopt the Nigerian and Burkina Faso model of commemorating World Day of Communication for a whole week instead of celebrating one day. The week-long commemoration spread in parishes can be used for media education and various awareness creation activities in Church communications,” reads the communique.
To the broader African continent, Africa’s social communication practitioners spoke of their concerns about killings, abductions and general insecurity in the Sahel region.
“We continue to observe with angst and total disapproval the unprovoked, incessant and mindless attacks, abductions and killings against defenceless citizens and, in particular, Christians in many African countries such as Nigeria and Burkina Faso — in fact, the entire Sahel region. We strongly urge African governments to bring about sanity and security,” reads the statement.
On the last day of proceedings, elections were held for the new SIGNIS Africa board: Fr. Prof. Walter Ihejirika of Nigeria was re-elected President; Fr. Alberto Buque, Mozambique — Vice President; Fr. Dieu-Donne Kofi Davor, Ghana — Secretary/Treasurer; Fr. Webb Amouzou, Côte d’Ivoire — member representing the RECOWA region of West Africa. Elected to the board for the first time were Sr. Adelaide Ndilu, Kenya — as a member representing the AMECEA region; Fr. Fidele Mutabazi of Rwanda — member representing the ACEAC countries and Br. Alfonce Kugwa of Zimbabwe — member representing the IMBISA region.
Several persons and organisations were recognised at a ceremony for their contributions to the growth of Catholic communications in Africa. The two posthumous awards went to Zambian Bishop Moses Hamungole, who once served as SIGNIS Africa President. Bishop Hamungole died on 13 January 2021. Msgr. Ralph Madu, the former Secretary General at Nigeria’s Catholic Secretariat, was honoured posthumously for contributions when he worked in the ambit of social communications. Msgr. Madu died on 17 January 2021.
By Paul Samasumo