The National Director of Social Communications at the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), Abuja, Very Rev. Fr. Mike Nsikak Umoh has appealed to Church leaders to secure separate phone and line for their office use.
Padre Umoh gave the advice during a 3-day workshop/meeting of the Diocesan/Religious Directors of Communications which was organised by the National Directorate of Social Communications and held at the Catholic Secretariat Resource Centre, Abuja.
The National Director stressed that in order to make it easier for parishioners to access their priests and services in the parish, it is better to have a separate phone line which can be attended to by even the parish secretary or any designated parish staff. He said “In view of the COVID-19, every channel that will keep pastors close to their flock, and enable the flock to connect with their pastors, must be explored.”
Moreover, Fr. Director explained that “Too often, priests are accused of not picking their calls. It is definitely not possible for priests, especially those working in high density parishes, to pick all calls that come on their phones as long as they use personal phone as their official number. In the process of avoiding some calls, they are likely to miss very important calls from well-meaning parishioners who are in serious need of pastoral attention like a sick call.” He goes further to argue that “If a phone line is dedicated, and other parish workers are delegated to attend to it by directing messages to the priests or appropriate persons in the parish, the likelihood of such ugly incidence will be highly reduced. In fact there are many things people need from the parish office which do not require their physical presence.”
Additionally, Padre Umoh affirms that this measure will also help checkmate some security dangers priests and pastoral agents are exposed to when they allow their personal lines go too public, as well as ease transfer of parish from one priest to another.