Synodality Path Inspiring Evangelization Ministry into Future: Archbishop in South Africa

Credit: Archdiocese of Cape Town

The ongoing preparations for the Synod on Synodality offer inspiration for the Church’s ministry of evangelization into the future, the Local Ordinary of Cape Town Archdiocese in South Africa has said.

In his message at Bergvlliet Primary School Hall in his Metropolitan See on November 19, Archbishop Stephen Brislin said the path of Synodality has made it clear that “we are ‘Church together’ – with different roles”.

“The path of synodality, which has always been part of the Church, is now inspiring us to look to the future, and to ‘look to the stars’, so to speak, to determine how we can re-invigorate our determination to evangelize,” Archbishop Brislin said during the training for Parish Pastoral Council’s (PPCs).

He reflected on the challenges at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, saying, “We are all too aware of how people have suffered during the past two years and the ongoing consequences of COVID-19.”

Participation in the Synodal process has “deeply inspired” the people of God amid the challenges of the coronavirus, the Archbishop of Cape Town Archdiocese who doubles as the spokesperson of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) said.


He went on to reflect on the fruits of Synodality in his Episcopal See and the entire Church. He said, “The process of the synod has helped us to reflect on the life of the Church in the world and the life of the Church of Cape Town.”

“We’ve become aware through the process of the fact that we are ‘Church together’ – with different roles, it is true, but that the Church is really Church when we are together as people, Religious and Clergy, praying together, listening to each, dialoguing and discerning the signs of the times and our response to them,” Archbishop Brislin said during the November 19 event. 

On October 16, Pope Francis extended the Synod on Synodality to 2024 “in order to have a more relaxed period of discernment.”

“The fruits of the synodal process underway are many, but so that they might come to full maturity, it is necessary not to be in a rush," the Holy Father during his Angelus address.

In his November 19 statement that was obtained by ACI Africa, Archbishop Brislin urged the PPC members undergoing training to embrace an “organization of efforts” in order to accomplish tasks more effectively, including that of evangelization.

More in Africa

“To be effective, we need to structure ourselves as a way of giving ourselves the means to be as successful and as efficient as possible,” the 66-year-old Archbishop who started his Episcopal Ministry in South Africa’s Kroonstad Diocese in January 2007 said.

Through organizational structures starting at the local Parish level, the South African Archbishop said that effectiveness at the Archdiocesan level can be achieved.

“Each Parish is asked to address the priorities and the policies of the Archdiocese. Organizationally, the portfolios have become the way in which that will happen,” he said.

The South African Archbishop underscored the value of togetherness in the understanding of the Church structure, saying, “While we are the ‘local Church’, that is the Church of the Archdiocese of Cape Town, we are not disconnected from the Body of Christ, the Universal Church.”

He continued, “We can never separate ourselves from that Body, and neither can we separate ourselves from the Church of Southern Africa as we work in communion with each other as the southern African region.”


Archbishop Brislin said that though other priorities may arise that the Church needs to address, the primary role of evangelization must never be neglected.

“What must remain common to every issue we address and, indeed every undertaking, is evangelization. Everything, including the use of finances, is meant to be ordered to evangelize and to spread the Gospel,” he said. 

Evangelization must always “remain rooted in Scripture and in the Tradition of the Church, the teachings that have been passed down through the generations,” the Archbishop of Capetown said.      

The SACBC spokesperson added, “Evangelization must also remain rooted in our spiritual life where God is the focus of each of our lives. God must be the focus of our communities, of our liturgies (not the priest, or the ministers, or the choir).”

Archbishop Brislin went on to reflect on the universal nature of the people of God, saying, “The Church is vast and diverse at every level of society and every level of giftedness – we gather as people of vastly different personalities, cultures, languages, colors and hues, of ways of life and experiences.”

(Story continues below)

“The gifts of God’s Holy Spirit are diverse and wide-spread,” he emphasized during the November 19 event. 

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.