The African Catholic Union of the Press/Union Catholique Africaine de la Presse (UCAP) and its Uganda Chapter (UCAP-Uganda) in collaboration with their partners launched a Pan-African Refresher Program on integral ecology, from 6th to 11th November.
The theme of this seminar is "Contribution of Journalists and Media Practitioners Toward an Integral Ecology According to the Encyclical “Laudato Si” of Pope Francis." Participants of this seminar are journalists, communicators, and other professionals acting for sustainable development from Ghana, Nigeria, Oman, Brazil, Germany, Togo, and Uganda.
The main objective of this event is to "strengthen the capacities of media professionals and propose effective approaches to solving environmental problems which are integral to the sustainable development of the African continent," said Charles Ndawula, president of UCAP-Uganda in his welcoming message during the opening ceremony.
In his address to the participants of this seminar, Dr. Paolo Ruffini, Prefect of the Dicastery for Communication, City of Vatican, congratulated the organizers and partners for the theme that " emphasizes how important the role of communication is in raising awareness of the epochal challenge we face and the role that each of us has in overcoming it together."
From and beyond Laudato Si, Dr Ruffini referred to the apostolic exhortation Laudato Deum published on the 4th October 2023, eight years after Laudato Si, and said: "only together, we can find adequate responses to the crisis we are facing, while the world in which we live is collapsing and may be nearing the breaking point" (Laudate Deum n°2). He also called to face together the impact of climate change that is increasingly hitting the lives of so many persons and to fight also against the fake news that is polluting communication all over the world.
This refresher program is also honoured by the introductory remarks proposed by Card. Michael Czerny, S.J., Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development: "as you reflect on Laudato si, I encourage you to consider Laudate Deum and Fratelli Tutti as well."
The Cardinal said that Pope Francis called for a truly integral ecology which "always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor." Talking about « ecological education" in Laudato Si, he said that "communicators can assist others who educate and inform" and invited journalists to " collaborate with families and Church parishes, organizations and projects."
"Ecological education can take place in a variety of settings: at school, in families, in the media, in catechesis and elsewhere," remembered Card. Czerny before he urged Catholic communicators, according to Laudate Deum, on their challenge to help provide a response to new problems and to react with global mechanisms to the environmental, public health, cultural and social challenges especially in order to consolidate respect for the most elementary human rights, social rights and the protection of our common home.
During the opening ceremony, the chairperson of Wakiso District Council, Matia Lwanga Bwanika, raised some questions on the challenges of the environment in Uganda and other African countries and invited participants to seriously think about the sources of ecology problems and make suggestions to protect our planet.
"Citing the holy Pope John Paul II, Pope Francis invites us to an ecological dialogue and to action in order to strengthen the conditions for an integral ecology to achieve sustainable development," noted the continental president of UCAP, Charles Ayetan, who thanks all the participants of this program. He revealed that "the major project and ambition during this event is to create a platform for the dissemination of information and education in favour of an integral ecology for sustainable development" and called stakeholders "to work together, with bravery and in a spirit of collaboration, creativity and innovation" in order to achieve this project.
During the first sessions, participants were taught about ecological crises in their countries and regions, such as climate change effects, pollution, flood, devastation of forests, about the sources of these crises such as poverty, ignorance, unconsciousness, and their consequences on the world, our "common home."
After the conferences and workshops, participants will make some resolutions and commitments as contributions toward an integral ecology for development.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Catholic Union of the Press (UCAP).
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The African Catholic Union of the Press (UCAP) is a continental organization dedicated to promoting communication within the Catholic Church and its partners in Africa. With a mission to foster spiritual growth, collaboration, and responsible journalism. UCAP works tirelessly to spread the Gospel and support developmental initiatives across the African continent.