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The seeming submission of youths of the present day world to the influence of modern-day information technology has been described as a worrisome challenge for the evangelization apostolate of the Church in the country.


This assertion was made by the Secretary General of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), Very Rev. Fr. Ralph Madu in his keynote address to participants at the recently concluded training workshop for Catholic youths from all the Archdioceses and dioceses of the Church in Nigeria. The theme of the programme was : New Media Education for Catholic Youths.


The training programme which was organized by Signis Nigeria with the support of Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS), took place at the Christ the King Cathedral Church, Aba, Imo State; and was attended by over 65 Youths from all the Ecclesiastical Provinces of the Church in the country. The Secretary General’s message was delivered by Rev. Fr. Chris Anyanwu, CSN Director of Social communications, who also represented the Bishop Chairman of the directorate and Bishop of Nsukka Diocese, Most Rev. Godfrey Onah.


Speaking on the importance of the training programme for the youths who are integral part of the Church faithful, the CSN Secretary General remarked: “One of the challenges the Church is facing is the gradual “migration” of her youths to new era of information technology. Thus, our youths have replaced the word of God in their lives with the various viral technological expositions the digital world is offering them. These include unethical movies and other social vices which tend to counter   the tenets and social teachings of the Church.”


He added: “Thus, instead of going to the Church or in the silence of their hearts commune with God; most youths of today see their new sources of information technology, especially the social media as their source of “authentic information and guide” about life.


 Fr. Madu therefore noted: “In the face of the challenges of the present day world, all hands must be on deck for the proper mobilization of the faithful to enable them counter these challenges. In this particular case, using all available means of communication technology of the digital era by the citizens of this era is of paramount importance.”


While commending Signis Nigeria for organizing such an important programme for the church’s citizens of the digital world, Fr. Madu also noted the importance of the media and the youths in the life of the Church and their interconnectivity in the promotion of the evangelization mission of the Church.


Noting that the programme brings together two vital important arms of the Church, Fr. Madu stated: “The first is the bastion of the evangelization apostolate of the Church, not only in Nigeria but also in the continent of Africa (First synod of Bishops on Africa, 1983) and the whole world; and the youths who are the future of the country, nay the nation and the universe. Therefore, the invaluable importance of these two groups to the mission of the Church cannot be controverted.”


Earlier in his welcome address, the President of Signis Nigeria, Rev. Fr. Walter Ihejirika noted that the workshop will provide a lot of valid information, training and education on the New media and assured that the participants will benefit immensely from the programme. Papers presented at the workshop included: “Youths, Fake News and Assessment of News Credibility in Social Media; Nigerian Youths in the Digital Age and Learning New Media Skills: Social and Moral Imperatives.


The programme started with an opening Mass at which the Administrator of the diocese, Very Rev. Fr. Innocent Ajuonu was the chief celebrant assisted by all the priests directors present at the ceremony while the homily was delivered by Rev. Fr. Steve-Mario Edward, in which he stressed the importance of humility as an important virtue to attract the blessings of God.


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