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South African Diocese Embarks on Synod on Synodality Pre-Meetings ahead of Official Launch

Bishop Joseph Mary Kizito of the Catholic Diocese of Aliwal in South Africa. Credit: Diocese of Aliwal

The Catholic Bishop of South Africa’s Aliwal Diocese has, in a pastoral letter, announced pre-synod meetings in his Episcopal See to deliberate on Synod on Synodality ahead of its solemn opening in each particular Church planned for October 17.

“We shall have our Diocesan consultation, by having pre-synodal meetings in our Small Christian Communities (SCCs), Parishes, Regions and Mount Carmel,” Bishop Joseph Mary Kizito says in his Sunday, September 26 pastoral letter obtained by ACI Africa.

Bishop Kizito explains, “Questions will be sent to you by your Parish Priests, Aliwan Dioceasan Pastoral Council (ADPC). Then all the answers will be sent back to the Diocesan contact person and the team involved."

Alluding to the theme of the Synod on Synodality, the Catholic Bishop emphasizes the need for the people of God under his pastoral care to "journey together in communion participation, and mission after the challenges of COVID-19."

The Synod is being organized under the theme, “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission.”

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“I call upon you all the people of God to encourage, and support each other on this wonderful journey of our faith with our Pope Francis," the Ugandan-born Bishop says, adding that the journey is essential because the Church needs to be on the move again.

All the people are connected and their voice and contribution is essential in discussion because everyone is called to listen to the holy spirit, Bishop Kizito says.

“We shall walk together lay people, religious, parents, couples, singles, men, women, teenagers, children, adolescents, healthy, people living with disabilities, the Priests, Nuns, and the Bishop,” the local Ordinary of Aliwal Diocese says in his September 26 pastoral letter.

Meanwhile, deliberations on the Synod on Synodality are also taking place in South Africa’s Cape Town Archdiocese, where the Auxiliary Bishop recently encouraged familiarization with the notion of Synodality.

In a September 21 pastoral letter, Bishop Sylvester David encouraged the people of God in Cape Town Archdiocese to seek an understanding of terminologies related to the Synod on Synodality, including Communion, Participation, and Mission as outlined in the official handbook for the discernment about the Synod in local churches, the Vademecum.

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“We are now preparing for the first phase of listening at diocesan level. This phase is meant to run from October 2021 to April 2022. We have a coordinating team of 14 lay and 20 ordained persons who will assist with this process,” Bishop David said in the pastoral letter.

After the initial meeting of the coordinating team, said the South African Catholic Bishop, points for discussion at Parish and small group levels will be sent out.

He added in reference to the Vademecum, “We encourage an active reading of the documentation and a planning of how best we can take the matter forward in this time of COVID-19 restrictions.”