RESOLUTIONS OF THE ASSOCIATION OF ARCH/DIOCESAN/RELIGIOUS DIRECTORS OF COMMUNICATION OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN NIGERIA (ADRDCCN) ISSUED AFTER THE SECOND PLENARY.
Held at Chris VI Hotels and Resort, Afor Ogbe Road, Eke Ahiara Junction, Mbaise,
Imo State, in the Catholic Diocese of Ahiara, Nigeria, from October 9-12, 2018.
1. We give thanks to God the Father, the Source of all communication, Who communicates Himself to us through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Perfect Communicator (Communio et Progressio, no. 11), in the Holy Spirit, Who was poured out on Pentecost Day and manifested as communication through speech in various languages (Acts of the Apostles 2: 1-14).
2. We, the members of the Association of Arch/Diocesan/Religious Directors of Communication of the Catholic Church in Nigeria (ADRDCCN) met for our second plenary at Chris VI Hotels and Resort, Afor Ogbe Road, Eke Ahiara Junction, Mbaise, Imo State in the Catholic Diocese of Ahiara, Nigeria, from October 9-12, 2018 and, after our fruitful deliberations, issue the following resolutions:
Acknowledgement, appreciation and solicitation
3. The Catholic Diocese of Ahiara is back to life again and, as managers of Church information, we are glad to be principal witnesses to this reality. We joyfully came in one accord to demonstrate our solidarity with the people of Ahiara Diocese. We firmly believe that communication is an essential part of God’s plan for us. We are convinced that if our generation is to leave a mark we must begin by working as a team in the Church and in the Nigerian society. Communication actually is communion and this is what we have achieved by our choice of Ahiara for our plenary.
4. We are impressed by the team spirit with which our brother directors of communication of the Owerri Ecclesiastical Province worked in preparation for our coming. We received, with much delight, the well wishes and fatherly blessings sent us by His Grace, the Most Revd A. J. V. Obinna, Archbishop of Owerri Archdiocese and Metropolitan of the Province of Owerri. We are very grateful to the Most Revd Lucius I. Ugorji, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Umuahia and Apostolic Administrator of Ahiara Diocese for, not only permitting our coming to Ahiara but also, presiding over the opening Holy Mass of the event at St Brigid’s Catholic Church, Ahiara, giving a very moving reflection at the Mass and for participating actively in the opening ceremonies. We are sincerely thankful to the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) Chairman of the Social Communications Department, the Most Revd Denis C. Isizoh, for his continuous support and encouragement, words of admonition and unprecedented ever-presence with us since he became chairman. We fully acknowledge all the efforts put into and all the troubles undergone and all the sacrifices made by the host director, our brother, Revd Fr Innocent Uwah, the diocesan Social Communications Board, headed by our brother, Revd Fr Walter Ihejirika, who is also the President of SIGNIS Africa, and the entire Owerri province.
We were truly touched by the very warm reception accorded us by the Ahiara Diocesan family – the Apostolic Administrator himself, the clergy led by the president of the Nigeria Catholic Diocesan Priests Association himself and a good representation of the Religious, Catholic Fathers, the Catholic Mothers and the Catholic Youth of the diocese. How can we ever forget to always thank the Catholic Institute of West Africa (CIWA), Port-Harcourt and, particularly the Centre for the Study African Culture and Communication (CESACC) for all the academic formation and the professional service they continually render to the communications apostolate of the Church in Nigeria and Africa? And who among us cannot appreciate the conscientious hard work of the Director, Revd Fr Christian Anyanwu, and staff of the Directorate of Social Communications at the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), Abuja? We pray the good Lord to reward you all richly.
5. We congratulate the new leadership of SIGNIS Nigeria headed by our elder brother, Revd Fr Patrick Alumuku. We are very satisfied with and encouraged by the very many luminous and laudable achievements recorded and the new grounds continually being broken in the print and electronic media endeavours across the nine ecclesiastical provinces of the Church in Nigeria. We continue to pray to God for the enabling graces and the wherewithal and means to be able to continually tackle and surmount the many challenges of financing and staffing of the communications apostolate; we are grateful for the support we have variously received from the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) through SIGNIS World and other donor agencies and well meaning organisations and individuals; and we renew our pledge of loyalty to our Bishops and competent religious Superiors as we also continue to solicit support from them and cooperation and assistance from our brother priests and fellow religious.
Witness and testimony
6. Professional journalists that we are and leading reporters that we should be in the Church in Nigeria, with a duty to project the truth based on facts without distorting the reality, ever more resolved as we are to remain tools in the hands of God in the task of disseminating the right information within the enclaves of His Church, to the frontiers of our nation and to the ends of the world, having stayed and interacted in and touched base with Ahiara for almost a whole working week, we attest that normalcy has returned to the Church’s life in this diocese after those sad years of the bishopric crisis and that Ahiara is springing up again to the joy of Christ’s faithful and to the glory of God. Clearly, this is the fruit of the goodwill of the Holy Father, His Holiness, Pope Francis, the Christian charity of Most Revd Peter Okpalaeke expressed in his resignation of his appointment and the commitment of the Apostolic Administrator, Most Revd Lucius I. Ugorji, in union with the clergy, religious and lay faithful of the diocese and in extended communion with the prayers of the entire faithful of Christ in the Church in Nigeria and the universal Church as a whole.
General elections 2019
7. As the country prepares for general elections in 2019, we, as communicators of the Church, reiterate the stand of the CBCN that as we look forward to the elections of 2019, we refuse to give up on our hope for a great, prosperous and peaceful nation. For our dreams to be achieved, we must embrace a new way of governing ourselves. As communicators, therefore, we must remain objective, non-partisan, and uphold the truth in our reportage, also educating the people in the exercise of their civic right throughout the election period.
Our continued commitment to the Church’s apostolate of social communications
8. Still ruminating upon the 2018 World Communication Day Message of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, we restate our commitment to uphold communication as part of God’s plan for us as an essential way to experience fellowship and communion with Him and with all men and women of goodwill everywhere.
9. We are still insistent on resisting the symptomatic condition and temptation of twisting the truth by being faithful to the pursuit of goodness.
10. We remain committed to defending the truth while avoiding economic and manipulative reportage which feeds on misinformation and is rooted in the thirst for power, vain pleasure and vain glory and destroys our interior freedom.
11. We uphold our previous decision that all media workers should include a column for children and the youth in our respective newspapers while standing up to speak to the hearts of our leaders and the entire citizenry.
12. We make our own, again, the strong words of the Pastoral Instruction, Aetatis Novae, that “Catholic media work is not simply one more programme alongside all the rest of the Church’s activities; social communications have a role to play in every aspect of the Church’s mission. Thus, not only should there be a pastoral plan for communication, but communication should be an integral part of every pastoral plan, for it has something to contribute to every other apostolate, ministry and programme” (Aetatis novae, no. 17).
New leadership of the Association
13. The association had election for new officers to run her affairs for the next four years.
a. President: Revd Fr Anthony Ijasan (Ekiti Diocese)
b. Vice President: Sr Josephine Odorwike, EHJ
c. Secretary: Revd Fr Benjamin Achi (Enugu Diocese)
d. Assistant Secretary: Revd Fr Emmanuel Eroh (Ogoja Diocese)
e. Treasurer: Revd Fr John Mark Cheitnum (Kafanchan Diocese)
f. Financial Secretary: Sr Mary Judith Ezeogu, IHM
g. Public Relations Officer: Revd Fr Christopher Omaku (Lafia Diocese)
14. We commend our modest efforts in the communications apostolate to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Perfect Communicator (Communio et Progressio, no. 11), and our mother.