Priests, the media and the various organs of the Church have been urged to rediscover the beauty and power of stories as means of evangelization. Also, religious educators and pastoral agents need to creatively explore means of re-presenting the story of God’s love to catechumen of all ages, especially children, in the language best suited to them and by employing the appropriate medium.
These were the submissions of the Secretary General of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Very Rev. Fr. Zacharia Samjumi in his homily at a Mass recently in Abuja. Drawing his homily from the theme of the 54th World Day of Communications, Fr. Samjumi also advised media practitioners not to focus their stories only on prominent individuals and the saints, but also on simple men and women of noble character in our communities and society. “The simple individuals also need to be accorded the front pages of our newspapers and on our media platforms.
Film producers, actors and youths may explore the use of media forms like short video clips or dance drama in re-telling the many great biblical stories and parables of J esus, in fostering positive values in the society and also in rebuking the many ills plaguing our society.” Media practitioners, he noted, need to be present on social media to tell the stories of goodness while countering and correcting the many falsehoods therein.
Fr Samjumi stressed that media education has become an indispensable venture which must be vigorously embarked upon so as to build a people who are more discerning in their choices and consumption of media diet. He also advocated for the setting up of adequate structures that would facilitate the building of media skills. On our media platforms, we need to focus our gaze beyond the VIPs and star-buster characters in our community and the larger society, so that we can also capture the many silent heroes in our parishes and communities for prominent reportage.
This is particularly so because stories do not have to always be sweet or rosy, rather they should be truthful and aimed at giving hope. Pope Francis encourages that even stories of human frailty need to be told with an eye of love, making room for mercy because the human story is daily evolving and never fully told. Therefore, even when it seems hopeless, the mercy of God must never be doubted since “every human story has an irrepressible dignity.” In conclusion, the document calls on humanity to embrace our Mother Mary, the undoer of the knots, to help disentangle the knotty situations of human life and story. In the words of the Holy Father, “let us entrust ourselves to a woman who knit together in her womb the humanity of God and ….. who knew how to untie the knots of life with the gentle strength of love.”