Ongoing Synod on Synodality Meeting to Give “modalities” for Africa’s Continental Assembly

Credit: Vatican Media

The ongoing meeting on preparations for the Synod on Synodality in Ghana’s capital, Accra, aims at generating “modalities” for Africa’s Continental Assembly scheduled to take place next year.

In a statement shared with ACI Africa, the Secretary General of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) says the four-day meeting set to conclude on Friday, December 9 has brought together experts “to pray, listen and discern” on the document guiding the continental phase of the Synodal process, which Pope Francis extended to 2024.  

“The meeting, which is the first of two meetings is to enable the Church in Africa to pray, listen and discern on the Document for the Continental Stage (DCS),” Fr. Rafael Simbine Junior says about the ongoing meeting that SECAM organized in collaboration with the African Synodality Initiative (ASI).

Fr. Simbine says that the Accra meeting that kicked off December 6 has 25 experts from across Africa working “out modalities for the continuation of the discernment process in view of the Continental Assembly scheduled for March 2023.”

Launched in October, the DCS of the 2021-2024 Synod on Synodality is a document resulting from the people of God following the first phase of the Synodal process.


The 48-page document facilitates reflections on the issues that emerged during the first phase of the Synodal process to aid Continental Synodal Assemblies that are take place between January and March 2023.

In his December 6 statement, SECAM Secretary General says that at the end of the ongoing working session, the 25 experts “will gather the outcome of the preceding steps of Synodality into a preliminary African Synodal Document and go back home to do the same process of prayerful discernment, sharing, and listening to the local people.”

“The fruits gathered at the local level will then be brought to the second working session scheduled for January 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya,” the Mozambican Catholic Priest says.

He goes on to highlight the three questions that are to guide the Continental phase of the Synodality process.

 “After having read and prayed with the DCS,” Fr. Simbine says that the first question seeks to explore “which intuitions resonate most strongly with the lived experiences and realities of the Church in Africa”.

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The second question will seek answers to the question, “What are the substantial tensions, divergencies, and issues that have emerged as particularly important from Africa's perspective and need to be addressed and considered in the next steps of the process?” he says in his December 6 statement.

The member of the Clergy of Mozambique’s Xai-Xai Diocese further says that the Continental phase of the Synodal process will also seek answers to the question: “What are the priority areas, recurring themes and calls to action that can be shared by Africa with the universal Church and discussed during the first session of the Synodal Assembly that shall take place in October 2023?” 

Launched by Pope Francis in October 2021 as a worldwide undertaking during which Catholics were encouraged to submit feedback to their respective Dioceses, the Synod on Synodality had been scheduled to conclude in 2023.

The Holy Father announced its extension to 2024 on October 16. The process that began with consultations at the level of the Dioceses is currently at the continental stage, expected to last through March 2023

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.