Seek to Tap into Laity’s Expertise “to progress faster” in Synodality: Kenyan Archbishop

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

Members of the Clergy who tap into the expertise of the Laity have been known to “progress faster” in their respective apostolates, positively contributing to the  ongoing preparations for the Synod on Synodality, a Catholic Archbishop in Kenya has said.

In an interview with ACI Africa on the sidelines of the Episcopal Ordination of Bishop John Mbinda of Lodwar Diocese, Archbishop Maurice Muhatia Makumba said that when Priests and Bishops collaborate with the lay faithful in matters of the faith just like they are currently participating in the preparations for the Synod on Synodality, church progress is enhanced.

“Synodality is more than just development, just financial (and) funding issues; it is about creating a family and sitting around a table where everybody is able to see each other and communicate,” Archbishop Muhatia said. 

The Kenyan Archbishop explained during the June 3 interview, “Those who work closely with the laity benefit from their expertise, their skills and their resourcefulness, and are more likely to progress faster; they are more successful in their pastoral approach.” 

The most critical areas that require the spirit of Synodality when Priests and Bishops can explore the expertise of the Laity include pastoral, financial, and development matters, he said, adding that members of the Clergy cannot have “knowledge of everything”.


“Bishops and Priests need to be ready to listen and to learn and to involve as many people as possible in what is going on in the church, especially in decision making in the most critical areas,” the Archbishop who chairs the Seminary Episcopal Commission (SEC) of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) told ACI Africa.

Involving the Laity in the decision-making process in the church, he said, “is a fact that we don’t have to go to the moon to understand. Those who involve the laity in matters of development, in matters of finance, the parish grows faster.” 

The lay people in Kisumu Archdiocese, he said, have expressed appreciation for being allowed to participate in the affairs of the church, the Catholic Church leader said in reference to his Metropolitan See where, he added, he has sought to fully involve lay experts in various fields to foster development in the local church. 

The Local Ordinary of Kenya’s Kisumu Archdiocese who has been at the helm of Kisumu Archdiocese since March 19 and doubles as KCCB Vice Chairman further said in reference to the Laity, “The more we involve them, the better for us.”

Archbishop Muhatia further reflected on the relationship between the 56th World Communications Day (WCD) and the ongoing preparations for the Synod on Synodality and said the theme for the two, which is listening, is an invitation for the people of God to have an encounter with each other.  

More in Africa

The WCD that was marked on May 29 and the ongoing preparations for the Synod on Synodality are “an invitation to encounter people, to encounter things for ourselves, to avoid fake news because fake news is a result of lack of encounter,” he said.

The Kenyan Archbishop who chairs the KCCB Commission that oversees the running of four national Major Seminaries in Kenya said that if the society does not embrace listening, then the church is likely to encounter the same challenges, unless she transforms that society.

“We are human beings, who have been brought up differently, how we embrace reality, how we embrace other people; there’s a risk that we could have people who don’t listen enough even in the church and therefore we need to grow together, hence Synodality,” he said.

The 54-year-old Archbishop who started his Episcopal Ministry in Kenya’s Nakuru Diocese in February 2010 said that church and society are directly linked and that the situation of the society in most cases determines the situation of the church.

“The Church doesn’t have a special pool from which she gets the group called Christians or Catholics; she draws them from all sectors of our society,” Archbishop Muhatia said, adding that the Church will get as good as what the society gives.


He highlighted the role of the church as molding and educating the people of God into better human beings, saying, “The Church is a child of society, she doesn’t exist in a tree. The people who go to Church are the same people who go to school, who go to work; they go everywhere and they live in a society.”

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.