Wed. Feb 28th, 2024

1. Preamble

We, a total of over eighty (80) participants comprising of Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, Priests, Religious, regional officials of communication along with the local and foreign partners of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) (www.SECAM.org), as well as lay communication experts, at the 50th Anniversary of the Pan African Episcopal Committee for Social Communications (CEPACS) under the theme: “CEPACS at 50: Towards Promoting a Synodal Church in Africa through Social Communications” held at Lumen Christi Retreat and Media Centre, Lagos, Nigeria, on 19 – 20 November 2023 and representing different national and regional Conferences across the continent and joined by Dr Paolo Ruffini the Prefect of the Dicastery for Social Communications, Vatican; with the primary aim of giving thanks to God for all what He has enabled us achieve through social communications; conducting an evaluation and stock-taking of the work of CEPACS over the past 50 years:

Appreciating our oneness in faith and, together, thanking God for this far He has brought us and CEPACS;

Further appreciating the work of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) and hospitality accorded by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) through the Archdiocese of Lagos for their commitment and hospitality that enabled the session succeed;

Acknowledging the work and inputs from the CEPACS continental leadership under the guidance of His Eminence Fridolin Cardinal Ambongo the President of SECAM and Bishop Emmanuel Badejo the President of CEPACS, the regional bishop chairmen for social communication, and the leadership of CBCN and the entire coordination by the SECAM Secretariat;

Further Acknowledging the support, solidarity and accompaniment from the Dicastery for Social Communications;

Having ­learnt the history of CEPACS, vision, mission and objectives; and stories from each other and learning that Social Communications is not merely functional, but communal and missionary;

Recognizing the noble role of social communication in deepening our faith and advancing the spirit of Synod on Synodality in the continent and, drawing from the lessons of the event, the importance of structured engagements;

Further recognizing that the Catholic Church in Africa requires a structure deeply rooted in the divine mission of evangelization and communication that should coexist with a collective journey to build a synodal Church that sufficiently integrates the Gospel message into the ‘new culture’ created by modern communications;

Recalling the commitment made by our founding fathers in establishing CEPACS as a social communication continental structure mandated to coordinate activities for advancement of evangelization through an authentic style of communication within our ecclesial communities;

Bearing in mind that the true evangelization and witness to Jesus Christ in the synodal Church can only be achieved when, journeying together, there is a common understanding on how to develop, implement and coordinate social communication among ourselves;

Reaffirming our commitments in enhancing individual and joint structured coordination of social communication in meeting the noble objectives of the Church in the continent;

Aware that today, the Church faces new and numerous challenges that, if not well addressed, are capable of destabilizing and even threatening the values we stand for; and

Further aware that our regional and national conferences also bear internal challenges in terms of social communication, in particular, financing and coordination of efforts in responding to the external challenges

2. Resolve as follows:

To enhance awareness and visibility of CEPACS, its mission, vision and objectives at all levels of the Church.in the African continent through the regional and national conferences; and all Ecclesial communities;
To develop and strengthen CEPACS operational structures across the continent to facilitate engagement in a collective communication and synodal journey as well as grow together at the diocesan, national, regional, continental and universal levels;
To form and capacity-build the CEPACS continental Committee and define its relationship with the regional and national episcopal conferences for the future;
To develop a robust CEPACS long-term strategic plan with full operational framework outlining, among others, the structure and an organogram; operations principles, values and Theory of Change; definitive roles and place of the clergy, religious and lay communications experts in the Church; and collaboration and partnerships;
To design and revive the regional communication structures and rekindle the interest and commitment of Bishops of the various conferences in Africa;

To champion the ethical discourse in traditional, modern and contemporary Communication especially in new media initiatives like artificial intelligence in relevant circles; and
To convene and hold further sessions (physical or virtual) with the regional bodies’ teams of social communication in devising how these resolutions could be moved forward

3. Recommend as follows:

3.1 To the Regional and National Conferences:

Prioritize specialized training for media personnel in the region and local diocese and Churches to enable the Gospel message get everywhere as well as receive a positive reception;
Facilitate adoption of appropriate digital media use as platform for evangelizing particularly the younger generation who use online applications most of the time;
Deliberately develop social communications strategies and approaches and encourage the Dioceses to apply them in empowering all ecclesial groups;
Advance innovative ways of using social communication and media in addressing contemporary challenges that the Church faces and building an understanding among the faithful to respond to such with confidence and humility; and
Support the resolutions that have been developed and adopted by the session

3.2 To the Dicastery for Social Communications, Vatican:

Continue collaboration with SECAM and other regional bodies to bring the synergies and the spirit of the Synodal church to reality; and
Identify and facilitate learning spaces for CEPACS across the globe in areas of social communication in the Church

3.3 To SECAM

Facilitate sharing of the outcome of the session with and encourage all the Arch/Bishops and Superiors to invest in both human and material resources to effectively create a media field of evangelizers capable of influencing the environment and culture of modern times;
Advance collaboration with other international communication church bodies across the continent, in particular SIGNIS and UCAP, for learning and broad use of social communication in addressing common issues facing the church of Christ;
Strengthen the coordination of CEPACS at the Secretariat with defined working structures for ease of operations and implementation of the agreed areas of actions;
Design resource mobilization strategy for CEPACS to facilitate effectiveness and efficiency of Social Communications;
Learning from the regional associations of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences such as AMECEA and the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, design and incorporate World Communication Day/ Week as CEPACS annual programme, whose activities will be part of a framework of raising awareness, doing media literacy campaign; and fundraising for communication activities.
Facilitate and support the realization of the resolutions made above

Signed: _____________________________                         Dated ______ November 20, 2023

Most. Rev Emmanuel Badejo

Bishop of Oyo Diocese, Nigeria, and President of CEPACS.

Signed: _____________________________                         Dated ______ November 20, 2023

Fr Andrew Kaufa smm

AMECEA Social Communication Coordinator on behalf of CEPACS@50 Organizers

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM).

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