Dicastery for Communication to Africa’s Bishops: The world needs to hear your voice.

Prefect 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 their SECAM Plenary Assembly (25 July to 1 August), Dr Ruffini thanked the Bishops for their cooperation and reminded them that the world needed to hear their voice and know about what their local churches were doing. The Bishops are meeting in Accra under the theme, “Ownership of SECAM; Security and Migration in Africa and the Islands.”

SECAM stands for Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar. It is an association of all Catholic Bishops in Africa. Its secretariat is in Accra.

Dr Paolo Ruffini, Prefect of the Dicastery for Communication.

Dr Paolo Ruffini, Prefect of the Dicastery for Communication.

Vatican Radio is your radio

“I am also pleased to remind you that this globalised 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 continued, “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.”

Bishops at Mass during a SECAM Plenary.

Vatican Radio’s partnership with Africa

Through Vatican Radio, Dr Ruffini said, the people of Africa are assured of trustworthy news about the Holy Father, the Holy See and about the universal Church.

“Thus, I would like to compliment and recognise 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 the English, French, Portuguese, KiSwahili and occasionally many other African languages. These daily radio broadcasts, consisting of a 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 Africa continent and in the world at large,” said Dr Ruffini.

Africa’s radio stations

For Africa, the ordinary FM radio set continues to be the most important medium of communication. On a continent where millions still have no access to the internet or can ill afford the prohibitive costs of Internet connectivity, the popularity of radio has endured. Radio has proved to have the widest geographical reach compared with the internet, television or even the newspaper. Many Catholic Dioceses in Africa own FM radio stations.

Dr Paolo Ruffini interacts with staff of Vatican Radio's French Service

Dr Paolo Ruffini interacts with staff of Vatican Radio’s French Service

In his message, Dr Ruffini invited Dioceses in Africa to embed on the homepages of their websites, a widget developed by the Dicastery for Communication. The widget, which is a small stand-alone App, automatically imports to the diocesan homepage latest updates on the Pope, his Sunday Angelus, speeches, Wednesday audiences and the Vatican press office’s daily news bulletins.

Staff of Vatican Radio’s English Africa Service.

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 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, would be a significant contribution to the diffusion of a culture of peace grounded in the truth of the Gospel.

Pope Saint Paul VI canonised the Uganda Martyrs in 1964 and later visited Uganda in 1969. During that visit, the Pope inaugurated the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM).