Fr. Paul Samasumo of Zambia is vice president of the World Catholic Association for Communication, SIGNIS, the first African to hold one of the top three positions in the organization, to which he was elected in the summer of 2017 by the delegates to the SIGNIS world congress in Quebec.
Trained in communications at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Fr. Samasumo served for several years as spokesman for the Zambia Episcopal Conference and Executive Director of Catholic Media Services in Zambia, before becoming head of Vatican Radio’s English for Africa service in 2014, a role he continues to hold in the new Vatican Media department of the Secretariat for COmmunications of the Holy See.
Generous and personable, Fr. Samasumo’s gentle demeanor sometimes disguises, sometimes reveals his keen powers of observation. He is a straight talker, and he has seen things.
His years as a parish priest – pastor of a parish covering 200 square kilometers in the Zambian bush – taught him lessons of service to people on the peripheries, where the presence of the Church through healthcare and education is often literally a matter of life or death.
He carried those lessons with him to Rome, and was kind enough to share some of them with me during a broad-ranging conversation on the state of the Church in Africa.
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SIGNIS is the World Catholic Association for Communication. Its mission is to engage with media professionals and support Catholic Communicators transform cultures in the light of the Gospel by promoting human dignity, justice and reconciliation.
Africae munus is the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pope Benedict XVI issued following the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for Africa in 2009.
Churches Health Association of Zambia is a Lusaka-based ecumenical organisation of Church-affiliated health institutions and community health programs committed to serving communities so that people live healthy and productive lives for the Glory of God.