Faith Communication project participants organize formative conference series for communicators in Africa on ‘Towards Full Presence.’

Faith Communication project participants organize formative conference series for communicators in Africa on ‘Towards Full Presence.’

 By Emmanuel Donatus (Faith Communication in the Digital World project), Nigeria.


­­Ubuntu – ‘I am because we are’, was the mantra of a three weeks formative conference for communicators across the African continent and beyond as organized by the Dicastery for Communication of the Holy See, in partnership with Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of African and Madagascar (SECAM) and SIGNIS-Africa.


Loving Neighbors.

The online conference, which was held on 1, 8 and 15 of March 2024, was designed to create a dialogue on ‘Towards Full Presence: A Pastoral Reflection on Engagement with Social Media,’ a pastoral letter document released by the Dicastery for Communication in May 2023. It had over 90 participants from 15 African countries including one each from Canada, United Kingdom and Austria. 


Impacting new frontiers and platforms.

Delivering the opening reflection during the first conference tagged “watching out for pitfalls on the digital highways,” Bishop Emmanuel Badejo, SECAM’s chairperson of social communications stated that the ‘Towards Full Presence’ presents to young people and indeed all Catholics “practical insights for navigating social media and how to communicate in a responsible, just and loving way too.” He emphasized that young people as children of the universe and of the Church, has no excuse for being indifferent in the social space “but that you must be fully present on the internet in order to help the church impact these new frontiers and platforms.”

Dr. Nataša Govekar, The Theological-Pastoral Director at the Dicastery for communication gave the opening remarks on behalf of the prefect of the Dicastery, Dr. Paolo Ruffini.

Other keynote speakers at the conference were Sr. Phatsimo Shana Ramokgwebana SC, a Producer with Radio Veritas, Fr. (Prof.) Walter Ihejirika, president of SIGNIS Africa, and Mr. George Sunguh a member of the Synod Media Commission at the Vatican; they took turns to engage participants on different segments of the pastoral document. 


 A fulfilling experience.

For the organizing team, who are part of the third cohort of the Faith Communication in the digital world project of the Dicastery for Communication of the Holy See, it has been a fulfilling experience; “Our goal is to connect with Africa's vibrant young population, fostering a dialogue on enhanced digital interaction for a more fulfilling life across various digital platforms” said Ruslan Magero, a communication strategist from Kenya, “With an average age of 19, Africa stands as a continent full with youth. It is a privilege to partner with the Dicastery for Communication to disseminate the document "Towards Full Presence." 

For Kuda Matambo, another member of the organizing team from Zimbabwe, the webinar provided a great avenue for connectivity: “we are creating a great platform for networking, imparting knowledge and sharing experiences. It is fulfilling to converse and learn from several African youths and communicators, a process I think enriches the local Church. I am also glad that many participants find this series very helpful.” 


Faith Communication in the Digital World project. 

Faith Communication in the Digital World is an initiative of the Dicastery for Communication of the Holy See. The program aims to promote best practices of spiritual formation and spread the inspiration for new and effective ways of Faith Communication through digital media, to foster the exchange of gifts with regions/countries where the Church faces marginalization, and to build awareness of how Catholics, particularly the younger generation, use digital media in daily life. The selection process for fourth cohort has already started with a special focus on Africa.

21 March 2024