Vatican Wants Laity “to speak their minds” in Ongoing Synod on Synodality: Nuncio in Kenya

Official logo of the Synod on Synodality. Credit: Vatican Media

For the ongoing preparations for the Synod on Synodality to bear fruits for the Church in Africa and the whole world, the Vatican would like that the Laity “speak their minds” without feeling “intimidated”, the Apostolic Nuncio in Kenya has said.

Archbishop Hubertus van Megen who was addressing members of the Clergy ministering in Kenya’s Catholic Diocese of Nakuru on Wednesday, February 15 said, in reference to the Synod on Synodality preparation at continental phase, “We have to accompany with our prayers that it will be fruitful not only for the Church in Africa but all over the world.”

“The Holy See wants to encourage the lay people to speak their minds about what is happening in the church without being limited or felt intimidated by the presence of all these Priests and Bishops,” the representative of the Holy Father in Kenya said on the occasion of announcing the appointment of Mons. Cleophas Oseso Tuka as the Bishop for the Catholic Diocese of Nakuru, and the elevation of the Apostolic Vicariate of Isiolo in Kenya to a Diocese.

Archbishop van Megen said that the ongoing discussions at the continental phase of the Synod on Synodality preparation also include Consecrated persons and the Laity, and underscored the need for the lay faithful to actively participate. 

The Continental phase of the Synodal process, which Pope Francis extended to 2024 is scheduled to run from March 1-6 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In Africa, this phase is going on under the auspices of the Symposium of Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM).


The Apostolic Nuncio in Kenya who also represents the Holy Father in South Sudan described the Church in Africa as “alive” and “growing fastest”.

“It is in Africa where the Church is alive; it is in Africa where the Church is growing fastest; it is in Africa where we have most of the vocations,” he said during the February 15 event that was held at St. Mary’s Pastoral Centre of Nakuru Diocese.

The continent of Africa holds the future of the Catholic Church, the Dutch-born Vatican Diplomat said, adding that the Church in Africa deserves a fair representation in the Roman Curia.

“There are very few Africans in the Roman Curia,” he said, and added, “It might be very important that the Church of Africa which is so powerful and which is growing fast and which is the future of the Church be well represented in Rome at the decision-making level.”

Archbishop van Megen urged members of the Clergy in Africa to embrace diplomatic studies so that they can represent the Church in various countries as Apostolic Nuncios.

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He said that the office of the Apostolic Nuncio requires a lot of flexibility from the diplomatic personnel serving in it as the ministry involves changing from one country to another and a shift in culture.

“If you want to do this kind of work, feel very welcome but be aware it is not only receptions and not only dinners as some of the people think,” the 61-year-old Catholic Archbishop who started his service as Apostolic Nuncio in Sudan and Eritrea in March 2014 and June 2014 respectively said.

As an Apostolic Nuncio, he explained, “you spend a lot of time in your office discussing issues, speaking to Bishops sometimes taking very difficult decisions.”

Archbishop van Megen also likened the duties of a Local Ordinary to that of an Apostolic Nuncio, saying that they are both required to make tough decisions and that some of the decisions weigh them down.

“If you work as a Bishop then basically you work in the kitchen of the Church; so, if you work in the kitchen of the Church, you see how the food gets burned, at times you see all the mistakes that are made and you see also the disasters that are built,” he said.


Based on the challenges associated with the Episcopacy, the Nuncio who has represented the Holy Father in Kenya since February 2019 said that one “needs a lot of faith to keep on still believing in that same church.”

Archbishop van Megen also urged members of the Clergy he was addressing in Nakuru Diocese to pray for peace in South Sudan following the recent ecumenical visit that involved Pope Francis, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Iain Greenshields.

“That is something to pray for, to continue to accompany our prayers with our interests in order that that country may come to peace,” the representative of the Holy Father in South Sudan since March 2019 said. 

Archbishop van Megen went on to express optimism that the February 3-5 ecumenical visit to South Sudan will bear fruit and that the East-Central African nation will be able to attract investors who will in turn foster the country’s growth and development.

If peace is realized in the world’s youngest nation, he said, there will be enough security, infrastructure will improve, and the country will attract investors.

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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.