Bishop Badejo who was appointed member of the Vatican Dicastery for Communication in December 2021 recalled that “the first Synod of Bishops for Africa in 1994, took place when the genocide was going on in Rwanda and the Church in Africa still had the courage to select for it's pastoral theme: The church as family of God in Africa.”
“Participation and working together is always a desire that Africa has always had,” Bishop Badejo said, and added, “The themes that have appeared in the Synod on Synodality and the synodality process have helped Africa to re-energize the values that the Church already had.”
The Local Ordinary of Nigeria’s Oyo Diocese who doubles as the President of the Pan African Episcopal Committee for Social Communications (CEPACS) further said, “The values that we mentioned here give a voice to everyone working together, not leaving anyone behind and listening to one another, the whole theme of listening has been part of Africa.”
“That's exactly what happens in a good family. In a good family, only the individuals listen to one another, and even when there are differences, the family does not necessarily break up, so it has been part of Africa and that is why we are happy to own the theme that appeared in the preparatory document of the Synod: Ubuntu,” he said.
The 61-year-old Nigerian Bishop who started his Episcopal Ministry in October 2007 as Coadjutor Bishop of Oyo Diocese added, “There is an African proverb that says whoever is not willing to learn even from the madman can never be completely wise. That means even a madman has something useful to contribute to the community and if you are not ready to listen to him, you can never truly be completely wise.”
He continued, “The Dicastery for Communications has the task of the overall restructuring, reorganization and consolidation of all of the realities, which in various ways up to the present have dealt with communications in order to respond ever better to the needs of the mission of the Church.”
Bishop Badejo said that the “plenary was a huge learning experience for the African team” and that the “African reality and experience were duly highlighted given how Africans at the plenary pointed out that in the very spirit of synodality, no part of the Church should be left behind in the process.”
“The plenary also recognized how the values and the world view of Africa really complement the spirit of the Synod on synodality, namely communion, participation and solidarity,” he went on to say, adding, “The challenge to the Church in Africa is to harness all communication resources, from the traditional to the digital, to carry out her mission.”
Bishops Badejo said that Catholic communicators are challenged “to creatively leverage the themes and objectives of the Synod on Synodality, establish a strong network among all components of communication in the continent to collaborate with the network of the universal Church being coordinated by the Dicastery for Communications.”
In his presentation during the three-day plenary session that concluded on November 12, Bishop Badejo highlighted the importance of engaging African youth in the media.