We, members of Catholic Media Practitioners’ Association of Nigeria (CAMPAN) converged in Jos, the Plateau State capital, from September 25-28, 2019, for our Third National Convention with the theme: “The New Media and Evangelization in Nigeria: ‘A Reflection”.
During the convention, we brainstormed on how to support the propagation of our faith using the new media.
The Convention had in attendance the Apostolic Administrator of Jos Archdiocese and Coadjutor Archbishop of Abuja, His Grace, Most Rev. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, the CBCN Bishop Chairman for Social Communications and the Auxiliary Bishop of Onitsha Archdiocese, His Lordship, Most Rev Denis Isizoh, who was represented by the National Director of Communications and Deputy Secretary General of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), Very Rev. Fr. Chris Anyanwu, PhD, President of SIGNIS-Nigeria and Director of Communications, Abuja Archdiocese, Very Rev. Fr. Patrick Alumuku, PhD, as well as the Directors of Jos Archdiocese, Dioceses of Sokoto, Pankshin and Bauchi.
Others in attendance include the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen represented by Mrs Veronica Dewa, representatives of the Commissioner of Police, Plateau state Command, Federal Road Safety Corps, Long Goemai of Shendam, HRM, Miskoom Martins Shaldas lll, the Ujah of Anaguta, the traditional head of Naraguta, was represented by Yakubu Shishok, SIGNIS officials and CAMPAN delegates from different Arch/dioceses across Nigeria.
Paper presentations were made by the Vicar-General Administration of Jos Archdiocese, Rt. Rev. Msgr Cletus Tanimu Gotan on the ‘Challenges and Opportunities of New Media and Evangelization’, while Very Rev. Fr. Gabriel Gowok of the University of Jos, paper focused on New Media: ‘A Reflection’.
The Convention looked at Christian evangelization in the digital age and appreciated the fact that from the time of the Apostles to date, the methodology of evangelization has changed allowing the adoption of new techniques of proclaiming the Word of God, and agreed that there is a need to utilize mass media platforms and its effects.
The Convention noted that over 60 per cent of the young people are on the social media platforms and, therefore, it is important for the Church to utilize the medium to spread the Gospel. The Convention also noted that much as the new media can strengthen the Church’s efforts at evangelization, formation, and communication, it can as well ruin the Church, if it is not well used.
CAMPAN carefully considered the said issues and resolved as follows:
1. That CAMPAN aligns with the current communiqué of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) in its entity issued during their Second Plenary Meeting held in Abeokuta, Ogun State from September 11-20, 2019.
2. That Arch/dioceses who are left behind in the digital age should key-in and give support to CAMPAN members, who are ready to make public the Gospel message.
3. That, though the faith and tradition of the Church remain the same, the mode of reaching the people can be complimented by using the new media.
4. In our resolve to give in our best, we need Chaplains that have passion for communication and that they should receive some sorts of training to help in executing the mission and vision of the Church’s Social Communication Apostolate in their arch/dioceses.
We also want our bishops to also organise trainings and refresher programmes for lay personnel working in the Directorate of Social Communications in our Arch/dioceses in the art of positively using the new media to promote evangelisation.
5. That CAMPAN will work towards facilitating the establishment of its chapters in arch/dioceses where they are not yet in existence within the next one year.
6. That CAMPAN, in total collaboration with the Church’s hierarchy, will take advantage of the young people’s interests in the new media to engage them to embrace the gospel and educate them to use the internet responsibly.
7. That CAMPAN members should key into the mission and vision of the Catholic Church’s Social Communication Department in the various Arch/dioceses.
With our different expertise as members of CAMPAN, we have resolved to recommend and suggest other ways of reaching out to our teeming population to the Church’s hierarchy with every humility. Thus, we suggest that:
1. Arch/dioceses should develop pastoral plans for evangelization and they should make Social Communications more effective and efficient in positively promoting the activities of the Catholic Chur ch within and to the outside world .
2. Arch/dioceses should evaluate the effectiveness of their communication tools and strategies and where necessary upgrade to current trend.
3. There should be the establishment of Communications’ Committee in all parishes across the country.
CAMPAN expresses its appreciation to the Bishops, the clergy and the lay faithful from Jos Ecclesiastical Province for the warm hospitality extended to the national delegates during the convention.
Mr. Patrick OSU
CAMPAN National President
Mr. Peter DADA
CAMPAN Secretary General