By Olivia Obijiaku
Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, Ahmadu Bello University, marked the 2022 Communication Week alongside other parishes in the country between Sunday 22d and Sunday, 29th May 2022. Anchoring the 4th day of the exercise Wednesday, 24th May, former Council Chairman of the Parish, Prof EC Okolocha spoke on the topic ‘Listening to Unwelcome Culture’ when he attributed divisions and misunderstanding between individuals and groups as arising sometimes from misinterpretations of original messages.
Defining communication as a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through the means of symbols and signs, the Don asserted that every individual has a unique way of communication but intimated that some message are disfigured along the line proffering productive listening and verifying the source of information received through the social media as ways of surmounting the problems imposed by interface.
“Interface is what happens between the source through the channel and other elements.” Prof Okolocha enlightened. “For instance, a message can be doctored and that is the problem we have with the social media. Sometimes, something may have happened three or four years ago and people still present it as fresh news. Interface can lead to communication breakdown and communication breakdown can cause misunderstanding. If there is wrong reception by the receiver, then there will be communication breakdown because the receiver will react the way he or she understands the message.”
“There are shared cultural elements like language, festivals, rituals, ceremonies and food but the environment and the context are also elements of communication. It is not everything that is said that mean the same thing in different situations or statements can be taken out of context. For example, we are mindful of what we have here in the Church, if non Catholics enter a Catholic Church, they may call it a hall but if a Catholic enters the Church, he first looks straight at the tabernacle and then genuflects before the Blessed Sacrament. So, God speaks in unwelcoming cultures and when we listen, we will be able to understand what is said and understand the situation. We need to listen to them in order to help and attend to their needs. Some people may not be able to engage in verbal communication but when we pay attention to their body language, we may get to understand them better.”
Acknowledging how important communication is to the Church, that a whole week is mapped out for it, the chairman catechized that the year’s Communication Week focuses on the listening aspect because the Church always has a message to send for the benefit of the faithful for the salvation of their souls. He then tasked the participants to engage in productive listening so that they may render the necessary help in unwelcoming cultures.