Advertisement

Catholic Journalists in Africa Urged to “consolidate resources to help in evangelization”

UCAP President, George Sunguh. Credit: George Sunguh

The leadership of the Union of the African Catholic Press (UCAP) is encouraging Catholic Journalists in Africa to “consolidate resources” that can foster the Church’s mission of evangelization.

In an interview with ACI Africa Thursday, September 30, UCAP President, George Sunguh, expressed hope that some of the needed resources would be realized before the Congress and General Assembly of the continental entity, scheduled to take place in December. 

“Our hope ahead of the meeting is to consolidate the resources in our midst as Catholic Journalists to help in evangelization," UCAP President said. 

Catholic Journalists, he added, are expected “to pool our brain resources together and chart out a course beneficial to all and to the Mother Church in particular.” 

The December 13-17 meeting that had been initially scheduled to take place in Togo will be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Advertisement

On September 10, the Togolese government announced the extension of a health state of emergency for 12 months and ordered the closing of places of worship for one month.

Members of the Episcopal Conference of Togo (CET) denounced the Togolese government’s decision, saying the pronouncement did not take into consideration psychological, social and spiritual realities.

In a statement shared with ACI Africa Wednesday, September 29, UCAP leadership says, “The Executive body of UCAP had a virtual meeting with the Council of Elders of the Union to discuss the COVID-19 situation in Togo and the preparations towards the UCAP Congress, slated for the 13th to 17th December, 2021.”

“It was learnt that the situation in Togo was not getting any better. The Togolese government, the meeting was informed, had halted the holding of all events again for another month, ending on the 10th October, 2021,” UCAP President says in the statement he signed on behalf of the Union’s Executive Council.

He adds, “It was not certain what would happen after the 10th October and it was also likely that if the restrictions were eased by the time of the Congress, there could be the possibility that only a limited number of participants would be allowed to attend the Congress.”

More in Africa

In light of the uncertainties, UCAP leadership says, “a decision was taken to have the Congress online.”

“An online program will soon be circulated,” he further says.

In the September 30 interview with ACI Africa, UCAP President invited “each national chapter to rally its members to join the virtual conference and make it a success.”

He appealed to UCAP members across the continent “to embrace the new normal and turn up in large numbers to support the process.”

“As a Continental Union we may not claim to have all the solutions to problems experienced by our members or colleagues, but we endeavor to provide a platform for sharing best practices,” Mr. Sunguh noted.

Advertisement

He went on to say, “Our members are at liberty to reach out to each other across the continent with a view of comparing notes and learning from each other.”

The Kenya-based UCAP President also highlighted the challenges COVID-19 brought to UCAP members saying, “There are those who lost their livelihood following the closure of media houses or downsizing of staffers.”

“Lives have been lost; others survived the scourge but with heavy medical bills to sort out for self or/and family members,” Mr. Sunguh recalled, adding that there are “those who managed to invent new survival skills, such as embracing online media etc.”

“Hard times create strong men (and women),” Mr. Sunguh added.

In the interview, he encouraged the sharing messages of hope amid the myriad of challenges saying, “It's during such encounters that we find the opportunity to whip up our members to continue in sharing messages of hope as enshrined in biblical teachings.”

(Story continues below)

The UCAP President went on to note that “the Holy Father and his clergy across the continent have beautiful programs to help in spiritual nourishment of the faithful.”

He acknowledged with appreciation the efforts Catholic journalists in Africa were making, particularly in “uplifting the spirits of their readers, listeners and viewers during the COVID 19 pandemic.”

“My sincere appeal to them to continue with this splendid job,” Mr. Sunguh added in reference to Catholic journalists in Africa.