AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BY MOST REV. FRANCIS OBAFEMI ADESINA, CATHOLIC BISHOP OF IJEBU-ODE DIOCESE ON THE OCCASION OF THE 55TH WORLD COMMUNICATION SUNDAYDominic
THEME: “Come and See” (John 1:46). Communicating by encountering people where and as they are.
My dear people of God, on this day we celebrate the 55th World Communication Sunday. The Holy Father has devoted this year’s theme to discovering people as they are and where they are. We live in a world where at times we have a premeditated idea about people, an idea which makes us feel we know people even before meeting them. The Holy Father says that, “in order to tell the truth of life that becomes history, it is necessary to move beyond the complacent attitude that we ‘already know’ certain things. Instead, we need to go and see them for ourselves, to spend time with people, to listen to their stories and to confront reality, which always in some way surprises us.”
To meet people as they are and where they are, we must be open-minded. Pre-conceived notion about people do not tell the real stories about who they really are. People are going through pain and torment, yet they come out with a smiling face just to hide their pains and agony. Many are committing suicide daily out of depression and hopeless situation of the country. It is our duty to always reach out to our friends and families and be a source of hope and strength to them even in their pains and agony.
To communicate effectively involves leaving our comfort zones and reaching out to others wherever they may be. The invitation of Philip to Nathaniel in John 1:46 was an invitation to come and experience Jesus. His encounter with Jesus changed his orientation and he truly became converted. He became an Apostle and he spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth. As Christians we have a duty to invite people like Philip did in order for them to experience the healing power of Jesus in the Sacraments. As Catholics, where do we invite our friends to? Do we invite them to the Church to experience the transforming effect of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament or we only invite them to social parties and celebrations? In our Parishes, let us endeavor to reach out to lapse members who are no longer active in Church by knowing what the problems really are. It is unfair to sit and judge them from a distance without making frantic effort to know what they are going through.
In our various Church Societies and Associations, let us not only check on those who make huge financial contributions but always remember the poor ones among you. Talking to and visiting a brother or sister can go a long way in bringing them back to the fold. This is a duty that all Christ’s faithful must embrace and partake of including Priests and Religious. As members of God’s family in the Catholic Diocese of Ijebu-Ode, let us do more of “home-to-home” visitation. This is the bedrock of every Basic Christian Community. It must not be abandoned because of Urbanization in our cities. When we carry out this basic task of visitation, we encounter people where and as they are. I, therefore, encourage various Church Societies and Associations to commit themselves and engage in regular ‘home-to-home’ visitation of their members and non-members alike.
As we celebrate the 55th World Communication Sunday, the Social Communication Commission of our Diocese is launching a Radio programme on Super FM 96.3 titled: “Aguda on Radio, the Way, the Truth and the Life.” The goal of this 30 minutes programme that will be aired every Sunday starting from the 16th day of May, 2021, is to spread the Good news of Christ, to invite people to come and see the Way, the Truth and the Life, as we daily experience him in the Catholic faith. It is an opportunity to tell our story as a Diocese and share our treasured Catholic Faith. I invite you Clergy, Religious and Laity of Ijebu-Ode Diocese to be part of this programme every Sunday by 6pm on Super FM 96.3.
I invoke God’s blessings on all people, particularly on all media practitioners all over the world and those living and working within our Diocese. Happy Communication Sunday!!!