NIGERIA: SIGNIS Africa President Likens Pope’s Message to Spirit of Ubuntu, Calls for Global Connectedness

By Arnold Neliba

RIVERS STATE, MAY 23, 2023 (CISA)-On the occasion of the 57th World Communication Day on May 21, Fr Walter Ihejirika, President of the Catholic Association for Communication (SIGNIS-Africa) has likened Pope Francis’ world communication day message to the spirit of Ubuntu, which signifies the connectedness that ought to exist between people.

The theme, Speaking with the Heart “The truth in love” (Eph 4:15),which was announced by Pope Francis on January 24, 2023, encourages Catholic communicators not to be afraid of proclaiming the truth, “even if it is at times uncomfortable, but of doing so without charity, without heart”

“It is correct behaviour in relations with other people, that is, behaving well towards others or acting in ways that benefit the community. It also referred to the need for forgiveness and reconciliation rather than vengeance. When a person behaves in these ways, he or she is said to have ubuntu. Having Ubuntu makes one a full person,” said Fr Ihejirika

The President of SIGNIS Africa says the pope’s message completes the cycle of communication; seeing, hearing, and speaking. However, for the sequence to generate “truly human communication” they must come from the heart.

He explained, “It is the heart that spurred us to go, to see and to listen, and it is the heart that moves us towards an open and welcoming way of communicating.”

“When a majority of the inhabitants of the world have Ubuntu, they effortlessly speak with the heart. The universal Ubuntu is the panacea for most of the global social and environmental problems,” he said with regard to Pope Francis’ sentiments : “Today more than ever, speaking with the heart is essential to foster a culture of peace in places where there is war; to open paths that allow for dialogue and reconciliation in places where hatred and enmity rage. We need communicators who are open to dialogue, engaged in promoting integral disarmament and committed to undoing the belligerent psychosis that nests in our hearts.”

World Communication Day is celebrated annually across dioceses and in the Universal Church on the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord.