Archbishop of Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, Most Reverend Alfred Adewale Martins and other stakeholders in the church have tasked Catholic media practitioners on the use of digital media in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Affirming that the new media has come to stay, the Archbishop said it will do the church lots of good if it maximised various online platforms in effective evangelism, correcting misconceptions about the church and communicating sound doctrines as contained in the Bible.
In his keynote address at a maiden Directorate of Social Communications of the Archdiocese’s one-day conference with the Archbishop at the St. Agnes Catholic Church in Maryland, Lagos, the Archbishop particularly called on Christian media practitioners to spearhead the task in their various churches, seeing it as a personal calling in fulfilling God’s purpose for their lives and humanity.
The conference with a theme: ‘Mobilizing Catholic Media Practitioners for the Mission of the Church in the digital era’, accorded the Archbishop the opportunity of noting that the aim of the conference “is to establish an army of media foot soldiers who will expand the horizon of the Communications apostolate in the Lagos Archdiocese and help propagate the gospel of the Lord Jesus.”
In the first plenary paper titled; “Communications Apostolate in the mission of the Church”, the guest speaker, Monsignor Prof. Joseph Oladejo Faniran, traced the central role played by the act of communication to the process of God creating humans and assigning them their responsibility.
Agreeing that the media environment is fast-changing, the Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Catholic Institute of West Africa, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria, urged Christian media practitioners to continually align with the trends of their profession in fulfilling the great commission.
“Since the age of industrialisation, which was signalled by the invention of writing, the simple media of oral culture has been transformed into the complex global network of today which embraces computerised electronic information processing, digital technology e. t. c.
“With this development, the act of communication, an innate capacity given by God to enable persons to express themselves and create relational culture, has become an organized, professional or specialist matter which demands competence and training. Consequently to be heard or to have a voice today means having access to skills, training, technology and technical know-how,” Faniran stated.
Advising media practitioners to match professionalism with spirituality, he insisted that they can celebrate their faith in Jesus through their talents.
“…Members of such parishes or communities will then be transformed from passive church goers into men and women of vision, ideas, faith, love and hope who are ready to commit themselves and their talents to the service of Jesus and His Kingdom.
“The various social media platforms are waiting to be used for the same purpose especially among the youth who increasingly turn to the world of cyberspace as a window on the world,” the monsignor added.
The second plenary paper by Mr. Seyi Martins on “Using the Digital Media for the Mission of the Church,” also addressed the need to use the new media to defend Catholic values at all times and correct misrepresentations of the Catholic Church in the Media in Nigeria.
He also urged practitioners to use the media to promote the work of communication officers of various parishes, deaneries and the Archdiocese.
Media professionals, Mr. Ted Iwere, Mr. Abraham Ogbodo, Mr. Soni Irabor, Mrs. Ivy Ojigbede, Mr. Ayeni Adekunle, Mr. Adedamola Adeniyi, Mr. Timilehin Oyedare and Mr. Fisayo Fosudo were part of the discussants at the event.