Newly Appointed African Consulters to Vatican Dicastery Highlight Gaps in Church Media Use

Fr. Andrew Kaufa (right) and Sr. Adelaide Felicitas Ndilu (left). Credit: Courtesy Photo

The newly appointed Consulters of the Vatican Dicastery for communication from Africa have highlighted limitations in efforts to engage digital media in the evangelization process on the continent.

On September 29, the Holy See Press Office made public Pope Francis' appointment of Malawian-born Fr. Andrew Kaufa, and Sr. Adelaide Felicitas Ndilu from Kenya as consulters of the Vatican Dicastery that was established in July 2015.

Based in Nairobi, Kenya, Fr. Kaufa is the Social Communications Coordinator of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences of Eastern Africa (AMECEA).

Sr. Ndilu serves as the National Executive Secretary of the Commission for Social Communications of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), and doubles as the Director of the Nairobi-based Waumini Radio.

In separate interviews with ACI Africa, Fr. Kaufa and Sr. Ndilu expressed gratitude to the Holy Father for the appointment and underscored the need to address gaps in the effective engagement of the modern means of communication by the Church in Africa.


“Africa has seen the birth of so many radio stations, televisions and websites in the past two decades. However, there is more to be done in terms of Africa harnessing the digital media platforms,” Fr. Kaufa said during the October 3 interview.

The member of Montfort Missionaries (SMM) said that he sees his appointment to the Dicastery for Communication as an opportunity for Africa “to learn from other continents and also to share with them what we are already doing” in evangelizing through digital media.

The Catholic Priest who has been serving at the Nairobi-based AMECEA Secretariat since 2018 attributed his appointment to the Vatican Dicastery to the “recognition of the contribution that I can make in promoting evangelization through the modern means of communication.”

He reflected on the history of the Dicastery for Communication and said that it was born as a result of the second Vatican Council document on the Catholic teaching on the mass media, Inter Mirifica.

“It becomes clear to me that the profession I took is more identified with the laity than with Priests and Consecrated Persons,” Fr. Kaufa said.

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He added in reference to the spirit of Inter Mirifica, “There was a need for pastoral agents to be trained in this field, and now the Holy Father simply recognizes me as one of those media professionals that can add value to the mission of the Dicastery.”

Asked about what his role as one of the Consulters of the Dicastery for Communication entails, Fr. Kaufa said he looked forward to the orientation to be given by the leadership of the Vatican Dicastery.

However, he added, “Based on the etymological meaning of the term 'consulter', my understanding is that the Dicastery for Communication seeks information and professional advice, which is very helpful to the Holy Father for him to make sound decisions.”

Since the Consulters are based in their local contexts, the Montfort Missionary said, “this gives the Vatican real world information on which basis the Church takes a position and gives a message to the faithful and to the people of good will.”

Before he was appointed Coordinator of AMECEA Social Communications in 2018, Fr. Kaufa who holds a master’s degree in Mass Communication and Doctorate in Media Management had served as Director of Luntha Catholic Television in Malawi, a media project of the Montfort Missionaries.


In a separate interview with ACI Africa days after her appointment was made public, Sr. Ndilu identified limited media infrastructure attributed to financial limitations as a major factor hindering effective engaging of digital media in the process of evangelization in Africa.

“The continent has great potential in evangelization through broadcast media but lacks the real equipment, the real machines, the real instruments for the real job,” she said during the Thursday, October 6 interview.

She expressed optimism that her appointment to the Dicastery for Communication can help bring this gap of limited media infrastructure to a wider context.

Sr. Ndilu said in reference to the challenge of limited media infrastructure in African countries, “I hope one day this will be a thing of the past. Who knows, my appointment could be a blessing to some of these struggling media houses!”

The member of the Congregation of Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary who has been serving as National Executive Secretary of KCCB’s Commission for Social Communications since February 2020 described her appointment as “God’s doing”. She said that the Church “is now considering women to take up some positions that were originally held by men.”

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“I believe we are able and capable of carrying out great responsibilities entrusted to us. Catholic Nuns in Africa carry out humble tasks in a mighty way and mighty tasks in a humble way,” the Kenyan Catholic Nun said.

She added, “Mine is a mighty task, given to a small Nun and I hope in one way or the other, I can be of benefit to one or two people.”

“It is by God’s grace that the Holy Father considered me as worthy to be among very qualified members of the Holy Mother Church,” Sr. Ndilu who, in July this year, was appointed a board member of the African region of the World Catholic Association for Communication, SIGNIS Africa, told ACI Africa during the October 6 interview.  

She recalled the circumstances under which she received the news of her appointment that came through congratulatory messages from her colleagues, saying, “I could not believe what I was seeing; I thought I was dreaming; I could only say, thank you Jesus; this must be you.”

“My appointment is also an honor to the Church in Africa, especially in the area of communication,” Sr. Ndilu said, adding that what her specific role entails will be discussed in their first meeting scheduled for November this year.

The appointment of Fr. Kaufa and Sr. Ndilu brings the total number of Consulters of the Dicastery for Communication to 22. 

Among the 22 Consulters is the President of the Pan African Episcopal Committee for Social Communication (CEPACS), Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo in Nigeria.  His appointment was made public on 3 December 2021 by the Holy See Press Office

The Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of EWTN Global Catholic Network, Michael P. Warsaw, is also among the 22 Consulters of the Dicastery for Communication.

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.