The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has been highly commended by the Vatican office for introducing the Communications Week (ComWEEK) programme, an initiative which aims at promoting media literacy at the grassroots in parishes all over Nigeria.
The commendation was contained in a letter, dated 19 January, 2022, addressed to the National Director of Social Communications, Very Rev. Fr Michael Nsikak Umoh.
The Prefect of the Dicastery for Communications, Dr. Paolo Ruffini, noted thus: “We receive with great joy the news that the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria have unanimously endorsed the introduction of a media literacy programme in all parishes in the country within the context of the Communications Week celebration in May 2022.”
Going further, the head of the Dicastery extolled the leaders of the Catholic Church in Nigeria for the bold step they have taken in advancing media formation for missionary discipleship and for responsible citizenship in a democratic dispensation. While commending “the Nigerian Bishops for this very bold step in boosting media development at the grassroots in the Church and society,” he also noted that “the revolution in communications media and in information technologies represents a great and thrilling challenge,” to which Pope Francis is calling for responses “with fresh energy and imagination in order to better share the beauty of God in our lives.”
Moreover, the Vatican senior official acknowledged the connection between media literacy on the one hand, and on the other hand, the Pope’s theme for the 2022 World Day of Communications (LISTEN) as well as the ongoing Synod on Synodality process taking place in the Church. He affirmed that “Media literary will definitely help in developing kind-hearted and critical listening, a deepening of reasoning with the heart, as well as empowering the faithful in giving a more profound participation in the ongoing Synod on Synodality process taking place in the Church, while responding to the call to be ‘missionary disciples’ (Evangelii Gaudium).”
In concluding, the Vatican Communications office specifically requested the National Directorate of Social Communications at the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) to share experience of the initiative with the Dicastery so it might “serve as an insight for other Episcopal Conferences.”
The Communications Week (ComWEEK) is a week-long programme of the Catholic Church in Nigeria, an initiative of the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria, scheduled to hold in all parishes in the country from May 22 to May 29, 2022. It is directed by the National Directorate of Social Communications of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria in Abuja. It will entail promotion of awareness on the teachings of the church on media, exposure to some basic skills of media literacy and reflections on the Pope’s message for 2022 World Communications Day (WCD).