CEPACS at 50: Charting the course for Synodal Communication in Africa

A Symposium celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Pan African Episcopal Committee for Social Communications (CEPACS), took place in Lagos, Nigeria, on 19-20 November.

The event gathered over eighty participants, including Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, Priests, Religious, and communication experts from across the African continent. Paolo Ruffini, the Prefect of the Dicastery for Communications was present and contributed to the Symposium.

Celebrating achievements 

The Symposium’s theme, “CEPACS at 50: Towards Promoting a Synodal Church in Africa through Social Communications,” set the stage for gratitude, evaluation, and planning. Participants expressed gratitude for the achievements of CEPACS over the past 50 years, recognizing the unity in faith that binds them together. The Local Organizing Committee and the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) received commendation for their commitment and hospitality, ensuring the success of the event.

Understanding the Mission of CEPACS

The gathering delved into the history, vision, mission, and objectives of CEPACS. Participants shared stories, realizing that social communications are not merely functional but communal and missionary. Emphasis was placed on the role of social communication in deepening faith and fostering the spirit of the Synod on Synodality in Africa.

Resolutions for a Synodal Future

A series of resolutions and recommendations emerged that outline a path forward for CEPACS and the Church in Africa:

–       Enhancing Awareness and Visibility: To raise awareness of CEPACS and its mission at all levels of the Church, including regional and national conferences, as well as among Ecclesial communities.

–       Strengthening Operational Structures: Developing and strengthening CEPACS operational structures across the continent to facilitate collective communication and synodal journey at various levels.

–       Capacity-building and Committee Formation: Forming and capacity-building the CEPACS continental Committee, defining its relationship with regional and national episcopal conferences for the future.

–       Strategic Planning: Developing a robust long-term strategic plan for CEPACS, including an organogram, operational framework, principles, values, Theory of Change, roles of clergy, religious, and lay communication experts.

–       Reviving Regional Communication Structures: Designing and reviving regional communication structures, rekindling the interest and commitment of Bishops in various conferences across Africa.

–       Championing Ethical Discourse: Taking the lead in ethical discourse across traditional, modern, and contemporary communication, especially in new media initiatives like artificial intelligence.

–       Continued Collaboration: Convening further sessions, whether physical or virtual, with regional bodies’ teams of social communication to advance the resolutions made.


The symposium recommends that regional and national conferences prioritize specialized training for media personnel, adopt appropriate digital media use, develop social communication strategies, and support the resolutions of the session.

It also highlights the importance of continued collaboration with SECAM and other regional bodies as well as fostering a relationship with the Holy See’s Dicastery for Communication.

Source: Vatican News

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