“Deep joy”: SECAM on Appointment of Member to Preparatory Commission of Synod

Bishop Lucio Andrice Muandula among seven members of the newly established Preparatory Commission to facilitate the realization of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. Credit: ACI Africa

The Symposium of Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) has expressed “deep joy” following the appointment of the Symposium’s First Vice President to the newly established Preparatory Commission of the Synod on Synodality.

Appointed on March 15, Bishop Lucio Andrice Muandula of Mozambique’s Xai-Xai Catholic Diocese is among the seven members of the commission tasked with facilitating the realization of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.

Commonly known as the Synod on Synodality, the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops is the Synod of Catholic Bishops that the Vatican announced in March 2020 and later extended to October 2024, to be realized under the theme, "For a synodal Church: communion, participation and mission".

In a statement shared with ACI Africa Sunday, March 19, the Secretary General of SECAM says that the Catholic Bishops in Africa and the people of God on the continent “express deep joy at the news of the appointment of Rev. Lucio Andrice Muandula, who is First Vice-President of SECAM, as a member of the Preparatory Commission to facilitate the holding of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, scheduled for October 2023.”  

“The Church in Africa and the Islands congratulate you, Your Excellency Bishop Lucio Andrice Muandula and pray for you in the successful completion of your mission,” Fr. Rafael Simbine Junior says.


Fr. Simbine highlights the function of new Commission, based on the theme of the Synod on Synodality. 

“This is a task of great responsibility! Indeed, this commission is asked to foster the ongoing process of renewal of the whole Catholic Church in order to be a synodal Church, a Church of communication, participation and mission,” the Mozambican Catholic Priest says. 

The Preparatory Commission of the Synod on Synodality was established “in accordance with Article 10, parr. l-2” of Pope Francis’ 15 September 2018 Apostolic Constitution, Episcopalis Communio.

According to the Apostolic Constitution for the synod, the Secretary General establishes the Commission “for further exploration of the theme and for the writing of any documents that may be issued prior to the Synod Assembly.”

The other members appointed alongside Bishop Muandula include Fr. Giacomo Costa, a member of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), who is to serve as Coordinator; Archbishop Timothy John Costelloe, a member of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) that is at the helm of Perth Archdiocese in Australia; and Fr. Dario Vitali, a professor of theology at the Rome-based Pontifical Gregorian University.

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Other members of the Commission that Cardinal Grech is to preside over are Mons. Tomasz Trafny of the Synod Secretariat, who is to serve as Secretary of the Commission; and Sr. Shizue Hirota from Tokyo, Japan, the member of the Mercedarian Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, the only woman named to the preparatory commission, who is a consultant for the Catholic Council for Justice and Peace of the Japanese Bishops’ Conference.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.