PRETORIA, APRIL 9, 2024 - The Inter-Regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA) in collaboration with the African Synodality Initiative (ASI) have organized a three-day formation workshop designed for training rectors and formators of the major seminaries within the IMBISA region on the spirit and practice of Synodality.

According to Caroline Kavita, the ASI Programs Coordinator, the seminar that is scheduled from April 8 to 12, 2024, at the Padre Pio Retreat Center in Pretoria, seeks to cultivate a profound understanding of the spirit and practice of Synodality and the use of conversation in the spirit as a habitual way of proceeding in the Church and enrich the participants’ leadership skills “ by exploring the principles and practices of synodal leadership and addressing issues of clericalism and abuse of power.”

The workshop, she says, was informed by the First Session of the Synod on Synodality (2023), which identified that many priests often seemed to adhere to a model of clerical dominance over the faithful: making their own rules and pushing their agendas. Thus, this reality imbued the proposal enshrined in the Synod Synthesis Report that emphasized a need for continued formation and training for priests.

“Guided by the vision of cultivating a synodal church that actively listens to the voice of the entire People of God, this workshop marks a significant step towards the transformation of priestly formation within the Inter-Regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA). This event seeks to address the evolving needs of the church and ensure that future priests are well-equipped to foster a synodal church,” says Ms Kavita.

The workshop that brings together rectors and formators from various seminaries in the IMBISA region will be facilitated by Bishop Masilo John Selemela, Auxiliary of the Catholic Archdiocese of Pretoria, South Africa, Bishop John Tlhomola SCP of the Catholic Diocese of Mohale’s Hoek, Lesotho, Fr Marcel Uwineza, SJ, the Principal of Hekima University College, Kenya, and Sheila Pires, delegate at the ongoing Synod on Synodality and the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) Communication Officer.

The Pretoria workshop is the second meeting organized by ASI in collaboration with the Church’s regional bodies in Africa. It follows the transformative formation workshop on Synodality with seminarians and deacons at the Nyakibanda Major Seminary held in Butare, Rwanda, from November 30 to December 1, 2023.