Synod on Synodality: Delegates Representing Africa

Top From Left to Right - Fridolin Cardinal Ambongo Besungu, Archbishop Andrew Nkea Fuanya, Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde, Bottom From Left to Right - Berhaneyesus Demerew Cardinal Souraphie, Dieudonné Cardinal Nzapalainga, Bishop Lucio Andrice Muandula |

From the full list of some 364 participants in the October 4-29 Synod on Synodality in Rome, who include Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, women and men Religious, and Laity, 67 of them are from Africa.

For the first time, laypeople will not only participate in the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, but they also will be full members, with the ability to vote on a final document at the end of the process that was extended to October 2024, including 43 delegates from Africa.

In the list, Bishop Lucio Andrice Muandula of Xai-Xai Diocese in Mozambique and Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sedrak, of Alexandria, head of the Synod of the Coptic Catholic Church, Egypt, are among nine President’s Delegates at the Synod.

Mozambican-born Sheila Leocádia Pires, who serves as Communications Officer for the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) is Secretary of the Commission for Information that is headed by Dr. Paolo Ruffini, Prefect of the Dicastery For Communication.

Berhaneyesus Demerew Cardinal Souraphiel of Addis Ababa Archdiocese in Ethiopia, Archbishop Menghesteab Tesfamariam of Asmara Archdiocese in Eritrea, and the Patriarch of Alexandria Egypt are Africa’s delegates from the Eastern Catholic Churches.


For delegates from Catholic Bishops’ Conferences in Africa,  Cristóbal Cardinal López Romero of Rabat Archdiocese is to represent Catholic Bishops of North Africa under the Regional Episcopal Conference of North Africa (CERNA).

The Association of Episcopal Conferences of Central Africa Region (ACERAC) is to be represented by Bishop Emmanuel Dassi Youfang and Bishop Philippe Alain Mbarga from Cameroon; Bishop Nestor-Désiré Nongo-Aziagbia from the Central African Republic (CAR);  Bishop Nicolas Nadji Bab of Laï in Chad; Bishop Ildevert Mathurin Mouanga of Kinkala in the Republic of Congo;  Bishop Juan Domingo-Beka Esono Ayang of Equatorial Guinea, and Archbishop Jean-Patrick Iba-Ba of Libreville in Gabon.

Bishop Georges Bizimana of Ngozi in Burundi; Archbishop Marcel Utembi Tapa of Kisangani, and Bishop Pierre-Célestin Tshitoko Mamba of Luebo, both in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); and Bishop Edouard Sinayobye of Cyangugu in Rwanda are to represent the Association of Episcopal Conferences of Central Africa (ACEAC).

The majority of Africa’s delegates are from the Regional Episcopal Conferences of West Africa (RECOWA/CERAO).

They include Bishop Coffi Roger Anoumou of Lokossa in Benin; Archbishop Gabriel Sayaogo of Koupéla in Burkina Faso; Bishop Marcellin Kouadio Yao of Daloa in Ivory Coast; Archbishop Edward Tamba Charles of Freetown in Sierra Leone; Archbishop Vincent Coulibaly of Conakry in Guinea; Bishop Emmanuel Kofi Fianu of Ho, and Archbishop Gabriel Charles Palmer-Buckle of Cape Coast, both in Ghana; Bishop Hassa Florent Koné of San in Mali; Bishop Dominique Banlène Guigbile of Dapaong in Togo; Bishop Anthony Fallah Borwah of Gbarnga in Liberia; and in Nigeria, Bishop Donatus Aihmiosion of Uromi, Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama of Abuja, and Archbishop Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji of Owerri. 

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Nearly a third of the 364 voting delegates were chosen directly by Pope Francis, including  Archbishop Ignace Bessi Dogbo of Korhogo Archdiocese in Ivory Coast and President of the Episcopal Conference of Ivory Coast (CECCI), Bishop Muandula, and Archbishop Robert Christopher Ndlovu of Harare Archdiocese in Zimbabwe.

The President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), Fridolin Cardinal Ambongo Besungu of Kinshasa Archdiocese in DRC is to represent the continental forum of Catholic Bishops.

The Inter-Regional Meeting of the Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA) will be represented by Bishop Joaquim Nhanganga Tyombe of Uíje in Angola,  Archbishop Anton Dabula Mpako, Military Ordinary of South Africa, Archbishop Inácio Saure of Nampula in Mozambique, Bishop John Joale Tlhomola of Mohale’s Hoek in Lesotho, Archbishop Liborius Ndumbukuti Nashenda of Windhoek in Namibia, and Bishop Raphael Macebo Mabuza Ncube of Hwange in Zimbabwe.

Bishop Markos Ghebremedhin of Ethiopia, Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde and  Archbishop Anthony Muheria from Kenya, Archbishop George Desmond Tambala of Lilongwe in Malawi,  Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin Mulla of Juba in South Sudan, Archbishop Jude Thaddaeus Ruwa’ichi and Bishop Flavian Kassala from Tanzania, Bishop Sanctus Lino Wanok of Lira in Uganda, and Archbishop Ignatius Chama of Kasama in Zambia will represent the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences of Eastern Africa (AMECEA) region.

Bishop Alain Harel of Port Victoria in Seychelles and Bishop Jean Pascal Andriantsoavina from Madagascar are expected to represent the Episcopal Conferences of the Indian Ocean (CEDOI).


From the Continental Assemblies, Pope Francis also selected Fr. Vitalis Chinedu Anaehobi, Secretary General of RECOWA, Michel Jean-paul Guillaud, Sr. Ester Maria Lucas, Sr. Josée Ngalula, Ms. Norha Kofognotera Nonterah, Fr. Agbonkhianmeghe Emmanuel Orobator, Sr. Marie Solange Randrianirina, Sr. Solange Sahon Sia, and Fr. Rafael Simbine Junior, Secretary General of SECAM.

The Holy Father also named Archbishop Andrew Nkea Fuanya of Bamenda in Cameroon, Archbishop Gabriel Mbilingi of Lubango in Angola, and  Dieudonné Cardinal Nzapalainga of Bangui Archdiocese in CAR as members of the Ordinary Council of the synod.

The Superior General of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus (MCCJ), Fr. Gebresilasie Tadesse Tesfaye, is among the delegates representing Religious Orders.

Renowned Burkinabe Professor of Theology, Fr. Paul Béré, Sr. Anne Béatrice from Ivory Coast, the Secretary General of AMECEA, Tanzanian-born Fr. Anthony Makunde, and Sr. Paola Nelemta Ngarndiguimal from Chad are in the category of experts and facilitators of the Synod.

In a change from recent Synods, Pope Francis has broken the general assembly into two sessions, one to be held in October 2023 and the second in October 2024.

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According to Mario Cardinal Grech, the head of the Vatican’s synod office, conclusions will be reached only after the second session in 2024. At the end of the first session this year, the synod leadership will propose to participants some ideas for what to do in between the two sessions.

The Catholic Church’s Synod on Synodality has been underway since October 2021. At the end of the process in 2024, synod assembly participants will vote on an advisory final document that will be presented to the pope, who can decide, if he wishes, to adopt the text as a papal document or to write his own at the conclusion of the synod.

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