Hope you are able to identify some of the bishops in the photograph above. I think I counted ten of them. They are part of a group of 16 bishops, 4 priests and 2 sisters who attended a "Media Workshop" from Tuesday to Thursday.
We had been talking about it for some time and thanks to CREC (Centre for Research and Education in Communication) who financed it, we were able to do it.
The team of leaders included:
- Bishop Moses Hamungole (Bishop of Monze, Zambia) who has been director of Vatican Radio's English Africa Programme in Rome,
- Msgr Janvier Yameogo from Burkina Faso who has been responsible for the francophone section and the Africa desk at the Pontifical Council for social communications and
- "our own" Seàn-Patrick Lovett, born in Cape Town, Director of Vatican Radio's English Programme
Sèan started by inviting us to move to the other side of the hall, to experience a different point of view. It was a simple exercise but very useful considering we were talking on "media" and the way media is seen by some of us needed exactly that... a different point of view!
"When I shared with other people I was coming to South Africa for a workshop on media for the bishops, they said: 'about time' and 'thank God'" he said and then asked "why do you think they said so?". I guess you would like to know our answers (pity you were not with us at the workshop!) but you certainly have your own.
Sèan's invitation on Wednesday morning was to allow God to speak to us through social media. For a number of years, the Pope's message on "Social Communication Sunday" has been a constant encouragement to get involved in social media.
The best moment was when he said: "A group of teenagers are on their way to help you find your way in the world of social media. Each one of you will have his own teenager who will be 'teaching the teachers'."
Soon after that, at least 40 young people joined us at the hall, they "picked up a bishop" and worked with us until midday. I believe it was a powerful moment, both for us to be working with them and for them, to share that time with their bishops.
Having been introduced to "Twitter", the hashtag #BishopsMediaWorkshop was created and we were all invited to send tweets including it. Together with a number of new Facebook accounts, there are now at least 11 bishops on Twitter.
Archbishop Brislin (Cape Town): @ArchbishopCPT
Bishop Mpambani (Kokstad) @ZMpambani
Bishop Nubuasah (Francistown, Botswana) @FNubuasah
Bishop Dowling (Rustenberg): @bpdowling
Bishop Dziuba (Umzimkhulu) @DziubaStan
Bishop Rodrigues (TzaneeN) @JRodrogies
Bishop Sandri (Witbank) @sandrijoe
Bishop Risi (Keimoes - Upington) @egrkeimoes
Bishop Wustenberg (Aliwal North) @BpMichaelAliwal
Cardinal Napier (Durban) @CardinalNapier
and, of course, myself: @bpbhubesi
The "Communications Office of the Catholic Bishops of Botswana, South Africa and Swaziland" has also a Twitter account: @CathBoSaSwa
More next week...
Click HERE to view photos of the workshop