IMBISA Catholic Communications workshop 2023. IMBISA Catholic Communications workshop 2023. 

IMBISA Communication Workshop on Communicating the Faith with Joy.

The Inter-Regional Meeting of the Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA) recently organised a regional communication seminar for communications Directors at the Lumko Retreat and Conference Centre in Benoni, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Serge Zihalirwa Boroto, M.Afr. - Vatican City.

Bishop José Luis Gerardo Ponce de León of the Diocese of Manzini in Eswatini, and who is the Liaison Bishop for Communications of IMBISA, reminded participants during the opening Mass that they were to share their stories, the Church’s journey of faith in their respective countries through media. Bishop Ponce de León, highlighted three marks that should characterise their communication, namely curiosity, openness and passion.

A Communicator listens

The Communicators should be able to listen with the ear of the heart, and their communication should be the fruit of their relationship with Jesus, said the Manzini prelate. In this way they will be able to take people to Jesus Christ.

Among other speakers during the workshop, Sr Olga Massango, Paulist Sister, made a presentation on “Speaking with the Heart: Pastoral Insights for National Communication Offices in the Digital Era.” Ms Sheila Pires, SACBC Communication Office, spoke of the “Importance of media for a Synodal Church.”

Enhancing Social Communications in IMBISA

In a video shared with Vatican News by the Social Communications Commission of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference in conjunction with IMBISA, the participants at the workshop spoke of the “importance of communication in the Church in Africa.”

Fr Gilbert Chibhira, of the IMBISA Secretariat, highlighted that the workshop was first and foremost to create a platform for all the Social Communications Directors in the IMBISA region, to meet physically and discuss on the way forward on how they can enhance and improve social communication in the region. Among other topics for this workshop, he mentioned cybersecurity, and synodality.

Fr Chibhira highlighted that communication is about sharing the richness of the Church in Africa in all its aspects from topics such as the liturgy, inculturation. Communication is central to evangelisation, he emphasised.

IMBISA Communicators pose for a photo.
IMBISA Communicators pose for a photo.

Communication and Synodality are about journeying

In an interview conducted by Sheila Pires for the Vatican News, Bishop Willem Christiaans, from the Diocese of Keetmanshoop, Namibia, expressed his satisfaction at the workshop. The Shepherd of Keetmanshoop highlighted the importance of having Communications Department in all Bishops’ Conferences. He argued that media platforms were instruments to be used responsibly by Catholic Communicators. “The way we use those media platforms will make the difference in how we spread the Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ,” said Bishop Christiaans.

On Communications and Synodality, Bishop Willem Christiaans said that what is important about the Synod on Synodality is the concept of journeying-together. For him to journey together means to be all on board.

“Even the elderly lady in the village -she needs to be brought on board, the prisoners in prison, everyone should be on board,” emphasised the Namibian Bishop.

Reaching out to the marginalised

Bishop Christiaans went on to say communicators need to emulate Pope Francis who is always ready to reach out to the marginalised.

“We have to pay visits to the far-flung areas as our Pope Francis has just done by visiting Mongolia. Places that the world would actually sometimes wonder why would this be such a priority! Pope Francis sets the example and makes plans to get out to far-flung places. And this is what this workshop has been about; we have all the twitters, we have WhatsApp, we have everything at our disposal in many places, but we also have to look at this particular point and in view of the Synod of Synodality that we started,” he said.

IMBISA is constituted of nine countries: Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, São Tomé and Príncipe, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. The communications Officers of the nine countries came together to share under the theme: “Communicating the Faith with Joy”.

Thank you for reading our article. You can keep up-to-date by subscribing to our daily newsletter. Just click here

04 September 2023, 12:40