Catholic Media Entities in Africa Urged to Foster “a more inclusive, participatory Church”

Some members of the African region of the World Catholic Association for Communication, SIGNIS Africa during their congress in Kigali, Rwanda. Credit: SIGNIS

Catholic media entities in Africa have been urged to embrace the spirit of the ongoing preparations for the Synod on Synodality by incorporating all members of society, including “more women and young people”, in their respective governance structures. 

Members of the African region of the World Catholic Association for Communication, SIGNIS Africa, who appealed for the spirit of synodality following their July 11-15 Congress and Assembly of delegates in Kigali, Rwanda, also urged Catholic communicators on the continent to practice impartial “listening at a deeper level to all people”.

“In the spirit of Synodality, all Catholic communication structures in Africa need to make it their priority to introspect and bring about a more inclusive and participatory Church,” the members of SIGNIS Africa say in the July 15 statement shared with ACI Africa.

They describe an inclusive and participatory Church as one that incorporates all stakeholders, and underscore the need to bring “more women and young people on board of our governance structures”.

In the four-page statement signed by the President of SIGNIS Africa, Fr. Walter Chikwendu Ihejirika, the members of SIGNIS urge communicators to embrace the theme of Synodality which is listening in their respective duties.


“All Catholic communicators on the continent must constantly be aware that listening is essential,” members of the African region of the global network of Catholic communicators bringing together radio, television, cinema, video, media education, Internet, and new technology professionals from over 100 countries say.

“Walking together in Synodality entails listening at a deeper level to all people without biases,” they add in the statement following their five-day SIGNIS Africa members’ Congress that had three representatives from the Vatican Dicastery for Communication, the Vice President of SIGNIS World, and the former SIGNIS Services Rome Director, among other dignitaries.

In their statement, SIGNIS Africa members underline the need for Catholic communicators in Africa to be multilingual in international languages, explaining that such ability fosters the spirit of networking, allowing the reaching out to each other across linguistic boundaries. 

“We recommend to our Catholic communicators in Africa to learn more than one international language and cultivate the spirit of networking,” SIGNIS Africa members say.

Being multilingual in international languages, they add, “will help build bridges, encourage sharing of media projects, and ensure efficient engagement in our service to the Church and humanity.”

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In their July 15 statement, members of the African region of the global network of Catholic media professionals that promotes “Media for a culture of peace” recall the keynote address that the President of the Pan African Episcopal Committee for Social Communications (CEPACS), Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo gave, highlighting the challenge to give a voice through media visibility to the marginalized.

“In his keynote address, Bishop Badejo stated that the ongoing Synod on Synodality of the universal Church is a communication project that challenges media practitioners in Africa to devise practical ways of giving voice to those marginalized by some of our church structures and in the broader society,” SIGNIS Africa members say, adding, “This calls us a new way of being Church.”

The communicators from various African countries who are part of the World Catholic Association for Communication that has consultative status with UNESCO, United Nations in Geneva and New York (Ecosoc), and the Council of Europe recognize the need to engage the media in the process of evangelization on the continent.

During the July 11-15 Congress and Assembly of SIGNIS Africa, “The delegates were further enlightened about the need to see the media as a veritable and viable evangelization tool, the effective use of which will assist the Church in fulfilling its missionary mandate,” the members say in their statement.

They recall the 56th World Communications Day (WCD) that was marked on May 29, and draw inspiration from Nigeria and Burkina Faso where the celebrations were spread over a single day.


In the two West African nations, WCD was spread over a week, with Catholic Bishops in Nigeria having launched the Communications Week (COMWEEK) in view of promoting media literacy in Catholic Parishes all over the country.

“We recommend that all national episcopal conferences adopt the Nigerian and Burkina Faso model of commemorating World Day of Communication for a whole week instead of celebrating one day,” SIGNIS Africa members say.

They add, “The week-long commemoration spread out in parishes can be used for media education and various awareness creation activities in Church communications.”

The Catholic communicators appeal to “the wider Church to embrace and incorporate social communications in all pastoral activities”, explaining, “Social communications is the handmaid of the Church's evangelizing mission.”

“As Catholic communicators in Africa, we renew our availability as communicators at the parish, diocesan, national, regional and continental levels to further the Church's mission,” they say in their July 15 statement.

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In the statement in which the Catholic communicators provide the list of the seven officials constituting the new SIGNIS Africa board “duly elected in a secret ballot for the next term of four years”, the members make specific recommendations “to the wider African society”.

Amid “the unprovoked, incessant and mindless attacks, abductions and killings against defenceless citizens and, in particular, Christians in many African countries”, SIGNIS Africa members “strongly urge African governments to bring about sanity and security.”

They also recommend the pursuit of “all the lofty ideals of connectedness that the African Union has often spoken about but rarely implemented”. Such pursuit, the Catholic communicators in Africa say, is part of the realization of the desire to build “the new Africa we want”.

They underscore the need for “African governments, groups, and individuals … to transcend the artificial land boundaries to which the legacies of colonialism have subjected the continent.”

“As Africans, we are proud of our identity, celebrate and promote our values, and esteem our dignity as a people of noble heritage. This is a mantra worth promoting in our schools, churches and communities,” SIGNIS Africa members say.

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.