He added, “There are wounds created by opposing ideological camps even within the Church that have made others feel alienated.”
According to Fr. Makunde, the Secretary General of AMECEA, the Synod on Synodality methodology is the best tool to heal the wounded Church in Africa, adding, “It is an invitation to journey together irrespective of our differences.”
Synodality, he said, “is about acknowledging the values that unite us more than what sometimes divides us.”
As for Fr. Marcel, Synodality is a calling to emulate Jesus who listened to and healed wounded people.
“Jesus' act of walking with the men on the way to Emmaus should be our guide,” the Principal of Hekima University College said, and added, “The people poured out their hearts to Jesus concerning their frustrations, and how they had lost hope in the death of Jesus, not knowing that he was there walking with them. In doing this, they bared their wounds to Jesus who listened to them and healed their souls.”
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Fr. Marcel continued, “The synod on synodality is an invitation for the people of God to be bridge builders rather than wall erectors. The ‘Sun of God’ has no favorites. It shines on everyone without discrimination.”
During the March 15-16 workshop that was held Africama House, the Headquarters of the Jesuits Conference of Africa and Madagascar (JCAM) in Nairobi, SRT members found it regrettable that society today has focused on a few wounds and forgotten about the others.
To Fr. Makunde, “a wound is a wound” and caution should be made not to minimize on one wound while focusing on the other.
“Some wounds have been forgotten. What we speak about the most, and which are equally important, are wounds resulting from sexual abuse,” the Secretary General of AMECEA said, and proposed the use of “the Synod on Synodality to heal the wounded African Church.”
He continued, “Some social wounds have been caused by wars that resulted from people with various agendas. Some are motivated by extremism and religious fundamentalism.”
Equally concerning, the SRT members said, is the fact that Christians have chosen to focus on the bad, forgetting all the good things that happened, especially in the Catholic Church.
“There is a need to celebrate the healers even as we identify the wounds in the Church. We have Priests who have given their all to the service of the people of God, and they need to be celebrated instead of castigating them all because of one rotten tomato. Many times, we tend to focus on one plane crashing and forget about the thousands that land safely every day,” Fr. Marcel said.
Fr. Uwineza’s sentiments were echoed by Archbishop Andrew Nkea Fuanya of Cameroon’s Bamenda Archdiocese who said, “The Church has a dark side but also has a good reality. In many African countries, there are hundreds of Priests who are laboring in the bushes and are faithful to the mission.”
Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.