By Abuchi Onwumelu of Fides Newspaper (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Catholic bishop of Awka Diocese, His Lordship Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor recently at St. Patrick's Catholic Cathedral, Awka inaugurated the Awka Diocesan Catholic Association of Media Practitioners (CAMP) with a call to the members to see the responsibility as a vocation.
Inaugurating the group shortly after the Eucharistic Celebration, Bishop Ezeokafor who is the Chairman, Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria, CBCN, Committee on Laity, expressed gratitude to God for bestowing on the CBCN's leadership, the wisdom and will power to form the association.
He said the role of the Catholic media practitioners in propagating the Gospel cannot be overemphasised.
The charismatic prelate who is also in his 10th year as the Local Ordinary of Awka Catholic Diocese, stressed the importance of defending the Catholic faith, saying that the inauguration would further strengthen the practitioners in carrying out their duty of informing, educating and enlightening the general public.
He called on members of the association to uphold the virtue through their various media.
Bishop Ezeokafor who acknowledged the hazardous nature of journalism in Nigeria, urged the members to continue in their onerous task of giving out accurate and unbiased information to all and sundry.
The chief shepherd of Awka Catholic Diocese, noted that the universal Church would continue to push for that which was right, noting that Catholic Church all over the world was known for her truthful disposition. This is even as he urged the members of the group to always showed the light whenever and wherever they found themselves.
He enjoined them to spread the Good news of Jesus Christ as the light of the world.
The press friendly bishop said the Catholic Church as a religion was always in fore front of projecting the truth at all times, noting that the inauguration of the Catholic Association of Media Practitioners in the Diocese was in fulfilment of the decision of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria.
He therefore enjoined the group to see the responsibility as a vocation and not to be biased in their reportage
The outspoken man of God, frowned at some priests who advertised themselves instead of proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ, adding that all powers and Glory belonged to God.
He called on other lay faithful to also join in the cause of preaching Christ to the world, adding that the Church recognised the importance of communication to the overall growth and development of the church and society, noting that it was why a day was set aside by the Church authorities as world communication day.
Earlier in a remark, the Awka Diocesan Director of Social Communication, Rev. Fr. Dr. Martin Anusi, Association of Catholic Media Practitioners was a body established by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria to be inaugurated in all dioceses in Nigeria, noting that it was affiliated to her universal parent body with the aim of realising the Second Vatican Council's objective of serving the cause of the Gospel through the communication media and profession.
He said membership cut across journalists, broadcasters, filmmakers and other categories of professionals who control social communications.
The Director of Fides Communications while explaining the reason for the inauguration announced that there would be CAMP national convention at Port Harcourt in March and Film Festival at Enugu later this year.
Also speaking, the pro tem chairman of the association who is also the director news and Current Affairs of the ABS, Mr. Gab Okpalaeze, noted that the essence of the association was to help carry the good news of Jesus Christ to all the frontiers of the world .
He expressed the association's readiness to embrace the responsibility given to them, noting that the association would stop at nothing in carrying every activity of the Church to the nooks and crannies of the world .
Contributing, the Awka Diocesan Cathedral Administrator and the Episcopal Vicar, Very Rev. Dr. Matthew Attansey, the commissioner for Health, Dr. Joe Akabuike and his Environment counterpart, Engr. Ejikeme stressed the need for journalists to balance their report before publication and charged them to project themselves as good Christian ambassadors.
Speaker after speaker including the former Managing Director of ABS and the current State chairman of NIPR, Lady Chinwe Nnedum, MD National Light, Sir. Chuka Nnabuife, Former Director of protocol, Sir Charles Mbadigwe, Dr. Dennis Ekemezie of NOA, commended the initiative and called on the Association to operate within the ethics of the profession.
The Pro tem executive members were as follows: Mr. Gab Okpalaeze (Chairman), Mr. Henry Duru (Vice Chairman); Mrs. Uche Amunike (Secretary); Mr. Abuchi Onwumelu (Publicity Secretary)
Highlights of the event included inauguration of the pro tem executive members, refreshment sponsored by the diocesan bishop, photograph, prayers as well as an interactive session.