They go on to highlight the effects of climate change, which they say has resulted in “ever increasing droughts in Zimbabwe.”
Catholic Bishops in the Southern African nation say regret the fact that “the 2022 crop yield has been very poor resulting in the exposure of the poor to hunger.”
As a way forward, ZCBC members turn to the Synodal path, and call for “the synodalization of the Church”.
“We invite all of you to work hard towards the synodalization of the Church. This means reinvigorating the sense that all the baptized, both the hierarchy and the laity, are called to be active participants in the saving mission of the Church,” Catholic Bishops in Zimbabwe say, and add, “In a synodal Church, we all should learn from one another.”
Reflecting on the synodal process in Zimbabwe, the Catholic Church leaders say, “A synodal Church is a participatory church in which believers are actively engaged in the Church and in the world.”
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“To achieve this, we must pursue new avenues to empower lay ministries. All members of the Church must be aware that participation and co-responsibility is both a right and an obligation rooted in the vocation received at Baptism and Confirmation,” the Catholic Church leaders say.
They add, “Communities marked by participation and co-responsibility become communities of missionary disciples. Thus, evangelization ceases to be a prerogative of Priests and Religious.”
“There is need to continue capacitating lay people with skills for the various services needed in our Parishes, such as Sunday Service Leaders, funeral ministers, readers, communion ministers, prayer leaders and taking care of the sick,” ZCBC members say.
They go on to highlight the importance of dialogue, saying, “The synod calls for an open dialogue within the church and with people from the worlds of economics and science, politics and culture, arts and sport, the media and social initiative.”
“Dialogue entails respectful listening, speaking out openly with respect, coming to know and understand one another as we find common ground,” they say, and add, “Let us commit ourselves to persistent and courageous dialogue. As a Church, we renew our commitment to act as genuine peace-builders in our nation.”
ZCBC members continue, “The Church is a credible partner in creating a broad public consensus to guide our country to peace. The synod does not only require a mutual dialogue but prophetic dialogue.”
They further say, “The church not only listens to all but as prophet, the church listens carefully to God, is attentive to people’s cries, anguishes and discerning the signs of the times speak truth to power. There is a serious danger in trying to mute the prophetic voice of the Church.”
“Let us dream as a single human family, as fellow travelers sharing the same flesh, as children of the same earth which is our common home, each of us bringing the richness of his or her beliefs and convictions, each of us with his or her own voice, brothers and sisters all,” Catholic Bishops in Zimbabwe say in their July 18 Pastoral Letter.
Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.