ABUJA, NIGERIA -
The presence of the Church in the digital world is better reflected by the vast knowledge of pastoral agents in the present day media technologies because of their position as principal agents of the mission of the Church.
This assertion was made by the Director of Social Communications, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Very Rev. Dr. Ralph Madu in his Keynote address at the opening ceremony of the workshop organized by his office on New Media Technologies for Religious Superiors and other officers of Religious Institutes and Formation Houses, held recently, at the Daughters of Divine Love /Retreat and Conference Centre (DRACC), Lugbe, Abuja. It was attended by over 70 participants from all over the country.
According to Fr. Madu, the “importance of this new perspective on communication and especially the new communications technologies cannot be overemphasized” and “it is a challenge that the church and all pastoral agents must also take up, in dialogue with all those who want a value-oriented media world.”
The CSN director of Social Communications, using several documents of the Church to buttress his point, contended that the new media technologies pose enormous challenges and opportunities for all including the Church as “it makes desperate efforts to find ways of using them to reach the “elusive and youthful fragmenting audience.”
Urging the participants to make the best use of the opportunities to be offered by the training programme, Fr. Madu said: “…since the media has acquired extraordinary potential and exert a lot of influence on modern life and it is the utmost desire of the Church to reach modern mentalities which the media tends to build, she must establish a reasonable presence in the world of the mass media. There is therefore the need for the Church in Nigeria to initiate communication pastoral plan that can be better implemented by first training the trainers of pastoral agents that you are. Thus, the need for this workshop.”
Speaking on Cultural Perspective on the Place of Communication in Academic Programmes of Formation Houses, Rev. Fr. Joseph Faniran gave the genesis of the culture of communication including the cultural dimension of ICT Revolution. He told the participants that the challenge of the Holy Father in this perspective is that “religious men and women can no longer ignore the media of communication in all their ramifications. They need to be at home in all of them and be able to use them for the mission entrusted to them by the One who called them to this way of life. Competence cannot be developed without training and formation”
Fr. Faniran remarked that the training which is at the instance of the Bishops Conference of the country is aimed at fashioning out ways and means by which contemporary and future priests, religious men and women will be: “formed to understand the three changing social contexts, the media and the attendant cultures of communication; be at home in all of them and be equipped to use them both the new and the traditional media, as the need arises, to build up the Church as Family of God in Nigeria.”