Synod of South Africa’s Pretoria Archdiocese Invitation to “reflect, discern”: Archbishop

The Archbishop of South Africa's Pretoria Archdiocese, Dabula Mpako during Holy Mass for the launch of the Diocesan Synod Mass on 21 February 2021.
Credit: Archdiocese of Pretoria/ Facebook

The ongoing second Synod of South Africa’s Pretoria Archdiocese is an invitation for the members of the local church to “reflect and discern together” God’s will as well as to renew their mission, the Local Ordinary, Archbishop Dabula Anthony Mpako has said. 

“It is a moment when we are all invited to reflect and discern together how God is calling us to be at this time and what God is calling us to do at this time,” Archbishop Mpako said in his homily during the Sunday, February 21 Mass to launch the Synod. 

In the process of discerning God’s will, Archbishop Mpako noted, the people of God in Pretoria will heed to the Synod’s invitation “to collectively and individually and, in the different roles as Clergy, Religious and Laity, take responsibility for the life and mission of our local church.” 

The Synod whose outcome will inform a new Pastoral Plan for the Archdiocese “is an invitation to us to renew our understanding of who we are called to be as Church and of our mission in the time and context within which we find ourselves presently and in which we are called to minister,” the South African Archbishop added. 

The Synod is also an opportunity for the Archdiocese of Pretoria to commit itself “anew to becoming more and more a local church that is alive, vibrant and that is responsible and effective in carrying out its God-given mission,” the 61-year-old Archbishop said in his homily during the Holy Eucharist he presided over at the Sacred Heart Cathedral of Pretoria Archdiocese.

He noted that the local church in Pretoria has “some way to go,” and explained, “There is some way in which some local parishes see and experience themselves as independent autonomous entities that are inward-looking, that are just concerned about what is happening in our parish community.”

He continued, “There is no sense yet that you are called upon to be the family of God in this local church; we are supposed to be united.” 

At the conclusion of the Synod, the Archbishop of Pretoria hopes that the people of God under his pastoral care will “become a more united church, not a conglomeration of separate entities that are (pulling) in different directions; a church united in purpose, united in love, united in conviction.”

During the Eucharistic celebration, which was held in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines, representatives of the Clergy, Religious and the Lay faithful received, on behalf of their groups, a copy of the new Pastoral Plan of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) that was launched at the beginning of 2020. 

The SACBC Pastoral Plan is set to provide a context for the Archdiocese of Pretoria Synod. The Synod is being held under the theme, “Evangelizing Community, Serving God, Humanity and all Creation,” which is the vision of the Pastoral Plan. 

Archbishop Mpako directed that the people of God in the Archdiocese pray a special Synod prayer every Sunday at the end of the prayers of the faithful. 

“The Synod process is an important invitation and a clarion call to us as the Catholic faithful of the local church of the Archdiocese of Pretoria. We would do well to respond positively to that invitation and hear that clarion call,” he said during the February 21 Eucharistic celebration. 

The Archbishop implored, “Let us pray earnestly therefore that God may be with us as we embark on this very important process of the Diocesan Synod.” 

“Let us pray that God will enlighten and guide us and bless all our efforts so that the Diocesan Synod may bring us closer to who God is calling us to be at this time, where God would have us be at this time, and what God would have us be about this time,” Archbishop Mpako further implored.


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ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.

Father Don Bosco Onyalla
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