Priest in Nigeria Proposes “cartoon language” for Catechism Classes to Boost Understanding

A Poster announcing Fr. Mike Umoh's lecture on day two of Communications Week (COMWEEK). Credit: CTV Abuja

A Catholic Priest in Nigeria has proposed the introduction of Catechism classes in cartoon form in order to enhance understanding among children in the West African nation.

In his Wednesday, May 25 lecture, day two of Communications Week (COMWEEK), the National Director of Communications at the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) said that children understand cartoon language better than anything else and that the church needs to invest in this approach for the good of the children in Nigeria.

“Cartoons are the language of children, so why are our catechism classes teaching for children not presented in cartoon form?” Fr. Mike Umoh said in the lecture published on YouTube on Wednesday, May 25 by the Catholic Television of Nigeria (CTV).

COMWEEK is an initiative of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) that was established to facilitate the realization of the role of the media, which is to foster fraternity and “positive social friendship”.

The annual week-long program that is set to end on Sunday, May 29, the World Communications Day 2022, is set to be carried out in all Catholic Parishes in the country.


Spearheaded by CSN, the program seeks to promote awareness on the teachings of the church on media, exposure to some basic skills of media literacy, and sharing of reflections on the Holy Father’s Message for 2022 WCD.

In his May 25 lecture of COMWEEK organized under the theme, “Building Faith through Listening”, ahead of the 56th WCD, Fr. Umoh said that cartoon language is easier and equally understandable by children who are yet to start speaking. 

The member of the Clergy of the Archdiocese of Lagos said that children nowadays know so much through watching cartoons and that if Catechism classes are presented in that form, then the classes will be more enjoyable.

“Children begin to enjoy cartoons as early as before they are one-year-old; today before they are one-year-old even a child that cannot talk to you yet is already understanding cartoons; so it's a very powerful medium that we must pay attention to and invest in as a church,” he said.

The Nigerian Catholic Priest said that the media is a tool that the church cannot afford to ignore because it is pervasive. 

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He said, “Media today rules everything more than ever. You want to travel, you need media to book tickets; you want to go to school, you need the media to research everything; even in the church you need media.”

“The church in our official documents, has encouraged Priests, Bishops, pastoral agents all of us in the church to embrace the media,” Fr. Umoh said, and added, “The problem is that the church is putting all those things in writing but we are not really making use of them.”

He continued, “The media is not an option; it is compulsory and an integral part of the life of a Priest and the entire church; it is the task of Priests and all pastoral agents to carefully and creatively employ these new tools and new language of the media to repackage the message of Christ in such a way that it is understood by children, youth and adult alike.”

Fr. Umoh said that the message is as good as the medium used, adding that the appropriate method is corporate packaging in the current language. He said that packaging in the Catholic church involves speaking the truth.

“Those who speak against the church only speak against the limitations in the church, the human elements in the church but never about the truth of the source,” he said, and added, “Unfortunately, at times we are too weak, at times we are too careless to package the truth as revealed by Christ.”


The National Director of Communications at CSN said that for the church to package the message of Christ properly, especially in this era of digital media, much attention needs to be given to the medium used in disseminating the message.

He said in reference to the message and medium, “Seminarians must be trained on how to appreciate the media, how to use the media, and also must be trained on the art of public speaking.”

Fr. Umoh explained, “Everybody talks, but not everybody talks effectively because talking is natural; authentic communication is a skill and it has to be learnt.”

He went on to reflect on the importance of communication in the church and said that the two cannot be separated because they depend on each other. He said that without communication, the church ceases to exist.

“We need to ask ourselves, what is the relationship between the church and communication? The first mistake we make is to think that we can separate them. At times you will hear some church people say, ‘What's my business with communication, my own is to pray to God, this is spiritual not about communication,’” he said.

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Fr. Umoh cautioned the faithful against disregarding communication, saying, “All of us must get out of this error because without communication the church is dead.”

He explained, “Talking of church without communications is like talking of fire without heat or sun without light. The church is necessarily communication; the church cannot exist without communicating.”

The Nigerian Catholic Priest posed, “Why is it so, what is the essence of the church, what's the mission of the church, is it not to make disciples of all nations? When you go out, you go to preach, and communication is necessary.”

The life of the church depends on communication and without communication, then the message of God will not reach out to people, Fr. Umoh emphasized during his May 25 lecture, adding that the church that “does not communicate love is dead or is a liar.”

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.