, 18 July, 2020 / 2:07 PM
Members of the Union of the African Catholic Press (UCAP), which brings together Catholic journalists in both the Catholic Church communications and those practicing journalism in secular media outlets have pledged their support for the English Africa Service of the Vatican Radio as the Rome-based media house celebrates 70 years of broadcasting on the continent.
In a statement shared with ACI Africa on Friday, July 17, the UCAP leadership says the members of the association were committed to Vatican radio’s endeavor to evangelize the world.
“The Executive Council of the Union of the African Catholic Press (UCAP) congratulates Vatican Radio on its 70th anniversary of English Service broadcast to Africa. This is not a mean feat at all,” the leadership of the union say in the July 16 statement.
“As Catholic journalists and indeed all journalists of goodwill in Africa, we pledge to continue working closely with Vatican Radio and support the Holy See, through its Dicastery for Communication in its endeavor to evangelize the world through the media,” UCAP leadership adds in the statement signed by the union President, George Sunguh.
In the statement, Mr. Sunguh hails the radio service, which he says had taken root in Africa at an opportune moment.
The journalists’ union President notes that in 1950 when Vatican Radio began its broadcasts to Africa, not a single state across the continent had attained political independence.
“This was indeed the peak of the fierce battle waged by indigenous African communities to regain self-rule from the colonial powers,” says the Kenyan-born UCAP President.
He adds, “Messages of hope and biblical teachings greatly inspired many who had been disillusioned under the yoke of the colonial oppression, hunger, diseases illiteracy among other challenges.”
And even after many countries on the continent attained independence in the 1960s, Vatican Radio continued to broadcast messages of hope, Christian teachings that helped charter the cause of many African nations to-date,” says Sunguh.
Members of the union that is recognized by the Vatican, on Friday, July 17 joined their colleagues from other parts of the world to celebrate Vatican Radio’s 70 years of service to the Church in Africa.
To mark the celebration, SIGNIS Africa, the continental branch of the global Catholic Association for Communication in collaboration with the Vatican Radio held a virtual event to discuss the role of storytelling in managing the ills that affect the African society today and highlight the milestones of the radio in Africa.
“We are glad to note the special webinar organized to commemorate this day, by the Dicastery of Communication, SIGNIS and SECAM – bringing together English-speaking Catholic Communicators in Africa,” says the UCAP President in the communique dated July 16.
He adds, “I appeal to all UCAP members to rally behind today’s webinar and continue supporting Vatican Radio from their respective parishes.”
The union President says that the theme of the webinar, “Story-telling as a tool to manage racial and social tribulations in Africa,” was apt especially at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic that he says has nearly brought the entire world to its knees.
He notes that UCAP has equally held two successful webinars under the theme, “The Role of Media in Church Services During and after COVID-9,” in English and French languages.
“These webinars received a high number of subscriptions from across the continent and beyond,” he recalls, and adds, “We look forward to (having) many more webinar conferences for such webinars are the glue that binds our people together.”
The UCAP press statement was copied to Bishop Emmanuel Badejo of Nigeria’s Oyo Diocese who is the President of the Pan African Episcopal Committee for Social Communications (CEPACS) and Rome-based Fr. Janvier Yameogo who carries out his communication apostolate at the Holy See’s Dicastery for Communications.
“We wish the entire staff and management of Vatican Radio, all God’s blessings as you continue to serve humanity in this noble calling,” the leadership of UCAP says.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa