Cardinal Ambongo Says African Delegates to the Synod of Bishops “Are sufficiently prepared”

The President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) has said he’s quite happy with the outcomes of the Synod preparatory seminar for African delegates held in Nairobi, Kenya.

Speaking to the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference (SACBC) communications office at the end of the SECAM Synod on Synodality preparatory seminar, the Archbishop of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and President of SECAM Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo said, “I’m happy to say that our goal has been reached, everyone is happy.”

“I can say that the African delegates to the Synod in Rome in October are sufficiently prepared to play their part and make their contribution,” said Cardinal Ambongo.

From August 15-18 delegates representing Africa at the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops had the opportunity to share ideas and to better familiarise themselves with the Instrumentum Laboris (working document) of the first session of the Synod of Bishops to be held in October 2023 in the Vatican.

Among the moderators at the seminar organised by SECAM in partnership with the African Synodality Initiative (ASI), was Fr Agbonkhanmeghe Emanuel Orobator SJ who reflected on ‘The Spirituality and Dynamics of Spiritual Conversation.’

“When we engage in this process of spiritual conversation, we create a community of discernment, a community of listening, and a community of dialogue… these are essential for the process of synodality,” said Fr Orobator.

The Nigerian Synod delegate went on to say he expects “that during our conversation and our meeting in Rome for the Synod, we will be prepared to apply this method of conversation in the spirit, in a way in which we are not only enriched by what we hear, we contribute to the growth, the edification and the progress of a synodal church.”

Reacting to the SECAM Synod of Bishops preparatory seminar, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Cape Coast, Ghana said he is “very impressed by the quality of presentations” and the “by the very outspoken nature of participants who really are bringing their views. I am very impressed by the fact that we have come to realize, to be a church we deal with the spiritual, the religious, the cultural, the political, and the ecological, we deal with global peace, and all sorts of things.”

Archbishop Gabriel Charles Palmer-Buckle told the SACBC communications office that the Synod on Synodality is not only for African Catholics but for the entire continent as “Africa expects quite a lot from us, not only Catholic Africa, not only Christian Africa but Africa as a whole, even religious Africa, Islamic Africa, I’d like to believe even Africa of the traditional religions and cultures will expect us to give a certain form of leadership, but that is more of being salt of the earth, being light.”

Archbishop Palmer-Buckle further said Africa should see the upcoming Synod of Bishops as “a wonderful opportunity for Africa” as the “spirit is sending us to bring some freshness to the world and to the church.”

Meanwhile, for the President of the Inter-Regional Meeting of the Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA), the Synod preparatory seminar organised by SECAM “went very well.”

“It has been a good preparation for us the Synod delegates… the emphasis was on synodality, how we can experience synodality… listening to each other, listening to the Holy Spirit and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in all our future endeavours and deliberation,” said Archbishop Liborius Ndumbukuti Nashenda of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Windhoek, Namibia.

In his address to the Synod delegates towards the end of the seminar, SECAM First Vice President Bishop Lúcio Andrice Muandula of Mozambique’s Xai-Xai Catholic Diocese encouraged the African delegates to revisit the 2018  apostolic constitution promulgated by Pope Francis Episcopalis communio (Episcopal Communion) as well as the International Theological Commission apostolic constitution Sensus Fidei (sense of the faith).



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