The missionary mandate: “Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Gospel to all creation (Mk. 16:15)”, has always been part and parcel of the ministry of the church.
The Vat. II council fathers affirmed this when they stated: “Having been divinely sent to the nations that she might be ‘the universal sacrament of salvation’, the church, in obedience to the command of her founder and because it is demanded by her own essential universality, strives to preach the Gospel to all men (A.G.D. 1.)”.
It was in response to this Divine call that the Mission club of Bigard Memorial Seminary Enugu, on 19th Oct., 2013 organised her annual mission/pastoral weekend with the theme: Evangelization in the face of modern communication media.
The occasion was launched on the eve of the D-day with a debate between the students, themed: The church has achieved much in the implementation of Inter Mirifica. It was then fully set rolling on 19th Oct., 2013 at 10: am, at the seminary auditorium.
The occasion witnessed the presence of eminent personalities both in the church and in the secular society. A keynote address on ‘Evangelism in the face of modern communication media’, was given by His Excellency, Hon. Labaran Maku, the Honourable minister of information, Federal Republic of Nigeria.
During his speech, he made it known to the Bigardians that Jesus brought light to the world; and had it been that there were then the modern means of communication as we have them today, Jesus would have broadcasted his message to the entire world with; radio, television etc. and that would have been very captivating and enriching.
He stated that because of the modern media; phones, internet etc, can the burden of carrying bible around everywhere one goes has reduced by the emergence of phones, where any type of bible can be downloaded.
Mentioning some of the challenges of evangelization the honourable minister, asserted that, seminarians as potential priests should be well trained as regards using the communication media. He advised that video conference media should be installed in the classes to enable easy access to qualified lecturers who can lecture from any part of the world.
He requested that the church should set out priests whose function will be to counter those who contradict the message of Christ in the internet so as to save the young people from being deceived.
Also Rev. Fr. Dr. Walter Ihejirika from the University of Port-Harcourt presented a paper on The new media and effective ministry: practical line of action for catholic priest. He indicated that communication was at the heart of evangelization and the priests who were the leaders of the church had a major role to play as regards evangelization.
Fr. Walter used the term “E Priest” for the priest who used the communication media in serving God, by enriching the people of God with inspiration and devotional quotes.
Furthermore, Mrs Miriam Menkiti, General Manager, Purity FM Akwa, spoke on The Nigerian Youth and adequate use of ICT. She admonished that the youths should endeavour to use the ICT to propagate the gospel.
On the same lane, Rev. Fr. Prof. Patrick Chibuko, from the Catholic institute of West Africa, Port Harcourt, discoursed The Place of ICT in Liturgical life of Nigerian Catholics Today. He stressed that it’s always edifying to preach the word of God with a good sound system.
He insisted that ICT is a gift to the church which should be celebrated in the mind of Christ and it is a means and not an end. He insisted that modern means of communication, do not replace the traditional books used in liturgy.
After the paper presentations, the students had their questions clarified. In his vote of thanks, Rev. Fr. Dr. Francis Igboanugo thanked the paper presenters immensely, and congratulated the mission club for a successful and fruitful organisation.
The moderator of mission club Rev. Fr. Dr. Ifanyi sylvanus Nnoruka, in his part appreciated the Rector, staff and seminarians for their support and for helping to make this year’s mission weekend a huge success.