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Morocco’s Rabat Archdiocese Convenes Synod, Seeking New Approaches to Evangelization

St. Peter's Cathedral in Morocco's Archdiocese of Rabat/ Credit: Courtesy Photo

The Leadership of Morocco’s Rabat Archdiocese has announced the holding of the Second Diocesan Synod aimed at seeking new approaches to the apostolate of evangelization in the North African nation.

In his Sunday, May 23 statement, the Archbishop of Rabat, Cristóbal Cardinal López Romero says that since the first synod was held some 25 years ago, the church in the North African Archdiocese has “evolved” requiring new approaches to evangelization.

“I officially convene the Diocesan Synod on this day of Pentecost, 23 May 2021 to answer this question together: For the sake of Jesus and the Gospel, which Church in Morocco?” Cardinal López says in his statement shared with ACI Africa.

He adds, “The Solemn opening of the Synod will take place in a Pontifical Mass I will preside at the St. Peter’s Cathedral at the beginning of the 2021/2022 pastoral year.”

Making reference to the very first Diocesan Synod that was held between 1993 to 1995, the Archbishop of Rabat says, “The last diocesan synod was held a little over 25 years ago and since then, our Church has changed, as has the Moroccan world that welcomes us.”

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“New challenges to evangelization have arisen, new needs have been expressed,” the member of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) further says, adding, “Twenty-five years after the first synodal event, which bore good fruit, we are aware of a Church that has evolved and is still changing, assimilating everything that has nourished it since then.”

“Let us dare to live a new synod together, where all the baptized, without distinction, set out to make our Church more evangelical,” the Spanish-born Cardinal who has been at the helm of Rabat Archdiocese since March 2018 appeals to participants in the Diocesan synod.

The synod, he says, “is a process, but also a state of mind and spirit that requires walking together, making a journey together.”

“If we want to become a church in Morocco that is a sign, then it is necessary to allow ourselves to be questioned and moved by the different cultures of our Church and also to be rooted in the culture and reality of this country,” the 69-year-old Cardinal says, adding, “We will be able to offer the culture of the Gospel, not by proselytism, but by attractiveness, by our way of being and serving.”   

To take the path of a church that is a sign among the people of God, the says, the Christian community of Rabat Archdiocese “needs to evaluate its history, to become aware of its diversity, of the riches and challenges that this implies, to scrutinize and ponder the Word of God, to listen to the expectations of this people, to be open to the conversion to which the Spirit is calling it, to discern the pastoral choices to be privileged, to be faithful to the Spirit of Jesus.”

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“It is a question of putting ourselves in the attitude of the Synod, in an attitude of openness to the Spirit, of coming out of ourselves, of walking towards the Kingdom, of searching together for the will of God, and of meeting with others,” the SDB member who was elevated to Cardinal in October 2019 further says in his May 23 message.

He goes on to call for active participation in synod saying, “It is a question of praying together, reflecting together, coming closer to one another, getting to know one another better, and seeking the best paths for our Church.”

“This means that we, Catholic Christians of the Archdiocese of Rabat, are all concerned by the Synod; no one can feel excluded; and we will do so in such a way that Christians of other denominations, Muslims and interested people can participate,” Cardinal López explains

He adds, “Everyone will be able to make a contribution, and everyone will give what time they can.”

On how the synod will be organized, the Cardinal says it will be done through “Diocesan assemblies of delegates, Parish assemblies, taking into account also the Church movements present in the Archdiocese.”

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In September, the Cardinal says, “a Pastoral Letter will inform you of the organizational details of the Synod, prepared by a steering team.”

He invites the people of God under his pastoral care to pray for the start of the Synod, through a special prayer formulated for the event.

The Catholic Church leader entrusts the success of the synod to “the holy Martyrs of Marrakech and under the protection of Mary, Our Lady of Morocco, a woman present with the apostles on the day of Pentecost. She is also with us today, on this Pentecost, which is pushing our Church towards its future.”

“May the Holy Spirit, on this day of Pentecost, fill you all with the joy and peace of the Risen One,” Cardinal López implores in his May 23 message shared with ACI Africa.