What is Social Communications?
Social Communications is the Commission responsible for the promotion of the Church’s mission of evangelization through the Media. It is the church’s instrument for advocacy and public relations. This Commission has the mandate of researching, covering/recording, documentation, publication, packaging and distribution of church-society related information. Social Communications derives from the Pontifical Council for Social Communications in Rome. The Pastoral Instruction on the means of Social Communication, Communio et Progressio, 29 January 1971 states that: “If public opinion is to be properly formed, it is necessary that, right from the start, the public be given free access to both the sources and the channels of information and be allowed freely to express its own vies. Modern man cannot do without information that is full, consistent, accurate and true.” Thus Social Communications provides a platform for formation through information.
The main aim for Social Communications is to evangelize through the media. It is responsible for research, publications and marketing of church products. The commission is divided into print and electronic media. The print media has to do with research, designing, production and packaging of all print work that is produced by the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference such as pastoral documents. These include:
- Pastoral letters
- Catholic newspaper – The Catholic Church News
- Pamphlets etc
The electronic media captures all events happening within the church and publishes them in electronic format that all Christians may benefit as a result of their interaction with church media. The electronic media is responsible for audio/visual productions in form of audio-visual CDs and DVDs. These productions inspire people’s lives and faith. The electronic media is also responsible for updating media sites/website for ZCBC and other social sites for the commission.
How does Social Communications work:
Social Communications also known as SOCCOM is led by the National Coordinator who has the mandate of coordinating communications work at national level. The Coordinator animates Diocesan Communications offices in Zimbabwe’s eight Catholic dioceses.
At diocese level the Social Communication Commission is led by Diocesan Coordinators who are appointed by the local ordinaries. These coordinators coordinate communication activities in their respective dioceses. They develop communication strategies suitable for their local church.
SOCCOM Major Responsibilities:
- Publication of Catholic Church News
- Coverage and recording of all church events and developments
- Enhance communication within the church and develop communication strategies that aid to the work of evangelization.
- Promote the church’s work and its involvement with society through communication.
- Promote the work of other ZCBC Commissions like Health, Education, Pontifical Mission Societies, Biblical Pastoral Ministry, Parliamentary Liaison Office, Marriage Tribunal, Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, Caritas and the Pastoral Center.
- Animating Communication within dioceses and help establish diocesan communication structures.
- Documentation of all church-society related activities.
- Networking with public and private media and encourage positive coverage of the church by state and private media.
- Network with other international Catholic media organization like SIGNIS, CAMECO and the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
- Further the church’s mission of evangelization through the media framework.
- Create a platform for sharing information, faith, ideas and beliefs.
The Commission run the print media section which is responsible for the production of all print jobs like the Catholic Church News which is the mouthpiece for the Church in Zimbabwe, pastoral letters and other documents for the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference. Social Communications also has a booming electronic media section that caters for the of all Catholic Church recordings and productions like musical CDs, DVDs, audiocassettes. The electronic media department also does duplication and printing of CDs and DVDs. The National Coordinator is the editor for both elctronic and print media.
Structure of Social Communications:
Chairman of the Commission:
Paul Horan ZCBC Social Communications Chairman
The structure of the Commission flows from the Pontifical Mission for Social Communications, which is responsible for Catholic Church Communications in the world. The Social Communications Commission like all other Commissions fall under the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference, which is the controlling board of the Catholic Church in Zimbabwe. The Commission has the Bishop Chairman who advises its operations and makes sure that the Commission complies with the doctrine of the Church. The Bishop Chairman represents the Commission at the Bishops Conference and links the Commission to this supreme decision making board. In simple terms, the Bishop Chairman gives direction to the operations of the Commission and from time to time checks on the progress of the department. Currently, the Chairman of the Social Communications Commission is the Bishop of Mutare, Paul Horan who took over from Bishop Michael Bhasera in 2017. Bishop Bhasera has worked hard to enhance Communication within the Church and to ensure that communication efforts conform to the mission of evangelization by the Catholic Church. Over the years, Bishop Bhasera has encouraged all dioceses to establish Diocesan Offices for Social Communications so as to enable local churches to participate in the process of communication and to share information and issues that shape their life.
Director: Br Kugwa
Social Communications Commission functions under the supervision of the Director who is appointed by the Bishops’ Conference to spearhead its operations. The Director oversees the day-to-day business of the Commission and directs how the Commission should perform in relation to the Church structures. He is also the editor of the Catholic Church News and executive producer of electronic media products like CDs, DVDs and cassettes. It is the Director’s duty to drive the Commission in line with its goals and objectives. The Director cooperates with other Heads of Commissions and makes sure that the Commission is well coordinated with the rest of the Commissions such as Caritas Zimbabwe, Health, Education, Parliamentary Liaison Office (PLO), Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP), Pastoral Center, Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) and other organizations of the Church. Since the Commission has the print media and electronic media in its stable, the Coordinator supervises all those functions and lead them in a successful and forward looking roadmap. He also coordinates dioceses to makes sure that they comply with the necessary requirements for Social Communications. Currently, the Commission is under the leadership of Br. Alfonce Kugwa spb who came in after the leadership of his four predecessors, who include Frs. Oskar Wemter, Kenneth Makamure, Berry Steven Muchemwa and Conrad Chibango. The Directors have put the Commission on the limelight that the Church in Zimbabwe has come to appreciate the role of communication in their evangelization.
Social Communications Commission operates in the eight Catholic Dioceses in Zimbabwe under the supervision of Diocesan Coordinators.
Diocesan Social Communications Coordinators are listed in the table below:
|Masvingo Diocese||Fr. Maxwell Mabvure||Cell: +263 771 559825|
|Chinhoyi Diocese||Fr. Chrispen Matsilele||Cell: +263 77444 6739|
|Archdiocese of Bulawayo||Sr. Esther Sakala MAR||Cell: +263 777 020 612|
|Archdiocese of Harare||Fr. Reki Mashayamombe||Cell: +263 772 364 864|
|Mutare Diocese||Fr. Talent Muhomba||Cell: +263 772 878 404861|
|Hwange Diocese||Fr. Keto Sithole||Cell: +263 712 784 135|
|Gokwe Diocese||Fr. Usiku||Cell: +263 777 523 343|
|Gweru Diocese||Fr. Kudakwashe Musvevereki||Cell: +263 772 122 429|
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