Prefect of the Holy See’s Dicastery for Communication, Dr Paolo Ruffini, has called for increased collaboration and networking between the Dicastery and the Bishops of Africa.
Paul Samasumo – Vatican City.
In his Goodwill message to the Catholic Bishops of Africa currently meeting in Accra, Ghana, for the SECAM Plenary Assembly (25 July to 1 August), Dr Ruffini thanked the Bishops for their cooperation with his Dicastery. He then encouraged the prelates to share their story as local churches with the world.
SECAM stands for Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar. It is an association of all Catholic Bishops in Africa. SECAM’s secretariat is in Accra, Ghana.
Vatican Radio is your radio
“I am also pleased to remind you that this globalized world needs to hear about you too, and about what you are doing as a local church in your various dioceses. This is very important. It is because of this that Vatican Radio is your radio. Therefore, I would like to make a call for increased collaboration, increased cooperation and increased networking,” said Dr Ruffini. He added, “through the radio, through the web, through social media, we can build a system with the mission of feeding the word of truth, based on the experience of Pentecost interwoven with the spirit of sharing instead of the one of Babel. ”
On a continent where millions still have no access to the internet or can ill afford the prohibitive costs of connectivity, the popularity of radio has endured. For Africa, the standard FM radio continues to be the most important medium of communication. Radio in Africa has the widest geographical reach compared with the internet, television and newspapers. Many Catholic Dioceses in Africa own FM radio stations.
Vatican Radio’s partnership with Africa
Through Vatican Radio, Dr Ruffini said that the people of Africa are assured of trustworthy news about the Holy Father, the Holy See and the universal Church.
“Thus, I would like to compliment and recognize the ongoing efforts in communication at all levels, mostly through the flourishing of radio and TV stations wherever they operate in the Church, the Family of God, on the continent, abroad and online. Most of these radio stations are re-transmitting (on their FM diocesan radio stations) Vatican Radio’s daily bulletins, broadcasts in English, French, Portuguese, KiSwahili and occasionally many other African languages. These daily radio broadcasts, consisting of daily, up-to-date and verified news about the Holy Father and the various Dicasteries of the Holy See, are assuring to the people on the African continent and in the world at large,” said Dr Ruffini .
Dr Ruffini has invited dioceses and Catholic institutions in Africa to embed a widget developed by the Dicastery for Communication on the homepage of their websites. The widget, a small stand-alone App, automatically imports to the diocesan homepage the latest updates on the Pope, his Sunday’ Angelus, speeches, audiences and the Vatican press office’s daily news bulletins.
Africa’s synodal journey with young people
Referring to the synodal journey of the universal Church launched by Pope Francis, Dr Ruffini encouraged Africa’s Bishop to heed the call of Pope Francis. The Holy Father wants the Church to “pay particular attention to the need to assist people, especially young people, to develop a sound critical sense, learning to distinguish truth from falsehood, right from wrong, good from evil, and to appreciate the importance of working for justice, social concord, and respect for our common home.” This, said Dr Ruffini, is a significant contribution to the diffusion of a culture of peace grounded in the truth of the Gospel.
Pope Saint Paul VI canonised the Ugandan Martyrs and visited Uganda in 1969. The Pope inaugurated the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa (SECAM) in Uganda during that visit.