Bishop Selemela; Synodal Process Calls for a “Missionary conversion”

The Synod on Synodality called for by Pope Francis is “intended to inspire people to dream about the Church we are called to be, to make people’s hopes flourish, to stimulate trust, to bind up wounds, to weave new and deeper relationships, to learn from one another, to build bridges, to enlighten minds, warm hearts, and restore strength to our hands for our common mission,” said the Auxiliary Bishop of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Pretoria.

In the virtual theological reflection on the Synod on Synodality organised by the Inter-Regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA) Secretariat, Bishop Masilo John Selemela said the Synodal Process calls for a “missionary conversion.”

“The objective of the Synodal Process is not only a series of exercises that start and stop, but rather a journey of growing authentically towards the communion and mission that God calls the Church to live out in the third millennium,” said Bishop Selemela during the Wednesday, May 3 webinar.

In his presentation under the theme “THE GOOD SHEPHERD AND THE SYNODAL PATH”, Bishop Selemela underscored the “renewal of the Church” proposed by the Second Vatican Council. He said that the call to “journey together is both a gift and a task,” and that “by reflecting together on the journey that has been made so far, the diverse members of the Church will be able to learn from one another’s experiences and perspectives, guided by the Holy Spirit.”

Bishop Selemela highlighted the “empowerment of lay people” as “those who are evangelized have also a call to evangelize,” adding, “evangelization happens both internally and externally.”

He then referred to the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference (SACBC) Pastoral Plan which calls for a “Church that is self-propagating, self-evangelizing and a Church that is self-reliant.” He said that “ownership of the faith is at the heart of a Church…People must own their faith. People must be actively involved in the Church, but also people must descend together on what their Church is all about.”

Referring to the Gospel passage of the Good Shepherd (John 10:1-10), Bishop Selemela said “The synodal priest must be both the gate and shepherd.” That “the gate and the shepherd work together for the well-being of the sheep so that the flock thrives.”

Bishop Selemela further said, “Priests, therefore, as educators in the faith, must see to it either by themselves or through others that the faithful are led individually in the Holy Spirit to a development of their own vocation according to the Gospel, to a sincere and practical charity, and to that freedom with which Christ has made us free.”



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