“This attitude paves the way for genuine dialogue,” they add in their message signed by the President of CBCN, Archbishop Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji.
The Catholic Bishops call for “a well-represented pastoral council in all parishes as a way of creating space, more room for dialogue and participation.”
“In a synodal Church, ways must be devised by which those in the periphery such as the non-literate, materially poor and the quiet members of the Church can be heard,” CBCN members say.
They add, “No doubt, wars, dissension, bitterness and acrimony can be avoided by embracing the power of listening and dialogue.”
The National Pastoral Congress, which started on November 8 was organized under the same theme as the Synod on Synodality, “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission”.
In their November 11 collective statement, CBCN members also highlight the importance of continuous catechetical formation in Africa’s most populous nation.
“Catechetical formation, which is an ongoing and dynamic process, is at the heart of the growth and development of the Christian life,” they say, and add, “There is no gain saying that we should be constantly formed in our faith.”
To realize Catechetical formation, CBCN members say, “a well-developed programme, which should include a curriculum on Catholic education for mission schools, should be designed for catechetical formation should be such that it does not end with the reception of the sacrament but initiate a process that should accompany the Catholic all through life.”
“This is not only desirable, but a necessity for effective Christian witnessing. In pursuance of this ideal, all hands must be on deck,” the Catholic Bishops add in their message issued at the end of the National Congress that was held at St. Paul Catholic Parish of Benin City Archdiocese.
They call on members of the Clergy, women and men Religious “to take the lead in the catechetical formation of the faithful. As their immediate collaborators, catechists are to be adequately trained and justly remunerated, while parents, on their part, are to ensure the initial catechetical formation of their wards backed up by exemplary Christian lifestyle.”