Catholic Bishop in South Sudan Announces “Diocesan Week” on Synodality End of July

Bishop Christian Carlassare of South Sudan's Rumbek Diocese. Credit: Radio Good News/Facebook

The Catholic Bishop of Rumbek in South Sudan has announced a “Diocesan Week” to be realized at the end of July with participants focusing on the ongoing preparations for the Synod on Synodality.

In a Tuesday, June 28 letter obtained by ACI Africa, Bishop Christian Carlassare invites “all secular clergy and members of the religious institutes working in the diocese of Rumbek” to the July 25-30 Diocesan Week.

“The main focus will be on the theme of Synodality as proposed by the Universal Church and the three words or concepts: communion, participation and mission,” Bishop Carlassare says in reference to the theme of the Synod on Synodality that the Diocesan Week is to follow.

According to the program of the Diocesan Week, which the Local Ordinary of Rumbek Diocese highlights, participants are expected to arrive at the Pastoral, Liturgical, and Catechetical (PALICA) premises in Rumbek on July 25. 

A Recollection Day that is to begin with morning meditation and continue with “afternoon sharing/healing” is planned for the following day, July 26.


July 27 that has been labelled “Formative Day on Synodality” will see participants in the Diocesan Week deliberate on the preparatory documents (Vademecum), which the Vatican issued in September 2021, as well as what Bishop Carlassare has described as “Church documents and experiences”.

Participants in the Diocesan Week will then focus on internal matters of the South Sudanese Diocese, the member of the Comboni Missionaries (MCCJ) who was consecrated Bishop on March 25 says in his letter, adding that the deliberations will be part of the “synodal journey”. 

He explains in reference to the events of July 28, “After the first two days, which will be dedicated to spirituality and ongoing formation, we shall discuss and decide on how to commit ourselves to this synodal journey towards the Diocesan Assembly that is scheduled to be in February 2023,”

Thus, July 28 has been reserved for the “road map toward the Diocesan Assembly”, which is to bring together, in February 2023, representatives from the 16 Parishes of the Diocese, and the Diocesan coordination departments and offices.

The Italian-born Bishop who has ministered in South Sudan since 2005 encourages “a large participation of all people concerned, especially parish priests, and at least a representative of all the religious communities.” 

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On July 29, statutes of the Presbyteral Council will be discussed and approved, an activity that is to be followed by the election and blessing of the members to the Council, Bishop Carlassare says in his June 28 letter addressed to “all secular Clergy and members of Religious Institutes” ministering in Rumbek Diocese.

He explains, “On the last day, we shall constitute the Presbyteral Council which is an important consultative body of the diocese.”

In October 2021, Pope Francis formally launched the two-year global consultation process leading to the 2023 Synod on Synodality with a call to “look others in the eye and listen to what they have to say.”

Earlier, in May 2021, the Vatican had announced that the Synod on Synodality would open with a Diocesan phase lasting from October 2021 to April 2022. A continental phase, the second, is to take place from September 2022 to March 2023.

The third, which is the universal phase, would begin with the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, dedicated to the theme, “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission” at the Vatican in October 2023.


In September 2021, the Vatican released a preparatory document and handbook for the 2023 Synod to be reviewed by all Catholic Dioceses in the world over the next six months.

The handbook includes prayers, a description of Synodality, the objectives of the Synodal process, and the main questions to which the local Catholic communities are asked to give feedback.

It underlines that Dioceses focus on “maximum inclusion and participation” among baptized Catholics in the Diocesan Synod process.

The preparatory document has been released for a period of “pre-Synodal discernment” that will influence a second draft of the text to be published before June 2023.

According to the Vatican, the preparatory document is “a tool to facilitate the first phase of listening to and consulting the people of God in the particular Churches” for the Diocesan phase of the Synod.

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One objective of the Synod on Synodality, according to the preparatory document, is to encourage a participative and inclusive process that offers everyone, especially those who for various reasons find themselves on the margins, the opportunity to express themselves and to be heard in order to contribute to the edification of the people of God.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.