Theme of Synod on Synodality Path for Community Growth: Catholic Archbishop in Angola

Archbishop Gabriel Mbilingi of Angola’s Lubango Archdiocese. Credit: CEAST

Archbishop Gabriel Mbilingi of Angola’s Lubango Archdiocese has underscored the value of the ongoing preparations for the Synod on Synodality and called for the embracing of its theme, which he said provides a path for the growth of the people of God.

In his homily during his pastoral visit to St. John the Baptist Mapunda Parish of his Metropolitan See on June 25, Archbishop Mbilingi made reference to the theme of the Synod on Synodality, “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission”.

He said, “Strive for communion, participation and mission as the path for the growth of the community, in the context of the synodality of the Church.”

The Angolan member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans/Holy Ghost Fathers/CSSp.) added that a “Bishop who visits the community journeys together in line with the Synod and asks that there be more communion, there be more participation.”

The unity that the Synodal process proposes, he said, “is not a unity that destroys diversity; it is a communion, like the communion of a body, where the members are distinct, but each member has its function, and if this function is not fulfilled, the body does not fulfill its mission.”


The Local Ordinary of Lubango went on to expound on other aspects the theme of the Synod on Synodality, saying, “What we want is the participation of all, each one according to the gift they have received from God, in the only mission of this Church that lives here in this territory of St. John the Baptist Parish.”

“The people of God in this parish should show that they have been touched by the message of conversion and love,” the 65-year-old Angolan Archbishop who previously served as President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) said.

In manifesting the spirit of conversion and love, he said, members of the Angolan Catholic Parish “can also lead the other brothers in the neighborhood and in their workplace to Christ, who is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, that unites people again because sin drives people apart.”

On June 20, the Vatican made public a new document outlining key questions for the upcoming 16th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, the Synod on Synodality.

The working document dubbed the Instrumentum Laboris is to guide the discussions at the first global assembly of the Synod on Synodality, scheduled to take place from October 4–28. The second assembly is to take place in October 2024 following Pope Francis’ October 2022 decision to extend the Synod on Synodality. 

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The Catholic Church’s massive synodal process that has already undergone the Diocesan, National, and Continental stages was announced in March 2020, guided by the question: “What steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our ‘journeying together?’”

In September 2021, the Vatican released a preparatory document and handbook for the scheduled Synod. The handbook included prayers, a description of Synodality, the objectives of the Synodal process, and the main questions to which the local Catholic communities were asked to give feedback.

Joao Vissesse contributed to the writing of this article

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