Across the globe, June 2 2019 was observed as World Communications Day, WCD, in accordance with the directive of the Holy Father, Pope Francis. The theme of this year’s WCD was “We are Members One of Another (Eph. 4:25) From Social Network Communities to Human Community.”
Preaching a homily in a concelebrated Pontifical Mass, the Catholic Bishop of Nnewi, His Lordship Most Hilary Okeke tasked Christians to use the social media with honesty and avoid fake news and hate speech. Bishop Okeke, who spoke through the Vicar General of the diocese, Very Rev Msgr Anichebe Patrick Ezeobata said that the immense potentialities of the internet are to be used to advance the cause of mankind.
He regretted however that some people have exploited the internet in the negative manner to spread fake news, citing the denial of the molestation of a Catholic priest of Nnewi Diocese by IPOB as evidence of dishonesty.
Among the priests at the Eucharistic celebration were Very Rev Anichebe Ezeobata, who presided over the Mass; Rev Frs Donatus Ike; Alphonsus Gusiorah; Martin Onwudiwe; Chidiebere Ughaerumba; Michael Ngobili; and Maurice Okeke, the Cathedral Administrator.
At the Utility Hall of the diocese, venue of the event, the Auxiliary Bishop of Onitsha Archdiocese, Most Rev Dr Denis Isizoh, in a keynote address, said that the Catholic Church recognizes the work of media practitioners who educate the public about events and issues, and called on all to use the internet freely, justly, judiciously, and responsibly to build up human community.
Bishop Isizoh, who is also the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, CBCN’s Laison Bishop for Communications, called for the recognition and appreciation of the achievements of the Communications media.
The only paper presentation for the occasion, which was chaired by Prof Anthony Igwegbe, CMD, NAUTH, Nnewi, was done by Rev Fr Aloysius Orakwe, the Director, Radio Sapientia, Onitsha. The paper took a critical view of the rising rate spate of adult suicide in Nigeria, condemning what it called frivolous reportage of the ugly incident and called for a rethink.
Earlier in a welcome address, the Director of Catholic Communications, Catholic Diocese of Nnewi, Very Rev Dr Fr Martin Onwudiwe said that the advent of the internet is a blessing to humanity through its numerous advantages, stating that the Church is very wise in harnessing these advantages in her mission of evangelization. He however called for a healthy application of the internet services, avoiding their excesses leading to insecurity, lack of empathy, falsehood, insensitivity, cyber bullying, loneliness and distraction.
The event featured live performance by the St Paul’s Seminary, Ukpor Orchestra which added glamour and pep to the occasion.