Delegates from across Africa and its islands are gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the Continental Synod Assembly organised by the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM).

In a press release by SECAM dated Monday, February 27, 2023, the Africa Synodal Continental Assembly, being held from 1-6 March 2023, is a continuation of the two working sessions held in Ghana and Nairobi and facilitated by the African synodality Initiative (ASI)to prepare the draft of the African Synod Document.

The Continental Stage involves the processes of listening and discernment. "This Continental Stage is part of this synodal process to emphasise the dialogical movement between the universal Church and the particular Church" (cfr. CIC 368; Communionis Notio n.7). This process involves a discernment of the main synodal theme, "How we walk together today," and its priorities are developed in a manner as inclusive as possible.

According to SECAM, the Assembly is guided by the Synod’s call to the Universal Church to communion, mission, and participation and aims at engaging the delegates from the Church in Africa. This Assembly will enable the continuation of the dialogue and discernment process on the pastoral issues that were captured in the Working Document for the Continental Stage (DCS), a synthesis of the reports that the universal church submitted to the General Secretariat of the Synod in Rome.

The African Synod document, which will be drafted after careful reflection on the fruits of the first stage from the syntheses of all of the Episcopal Conferences of the Universal Church, as well as the Eastern Churches, and groups such as Religious Institutes and Lay Movements, among others, The African Synod Document, is scheduled to be released at the end of October 2023. The Assembly will have in attendance about 200 delegates, among them cardinals, archbishops, bishops, consecrated men and women, lay people (men, women, and youth), seminarians, novices, and representatives of other faiths. ASI will make provision for sufficient number of lay people to participate. These delegates will reflect on the issues that emerged in the DCS and, according to SECAM, share their experiences and identify what strongly resonates with the lived experiences of the church in Africa.

The expectation of this assembly is for SECAM to present the contributions that have come out of the listening and discernment process from the Church in Africa to the General Secretariat of the Synod in Rome in October 2023.

To stay in touch with the events at the Assembly please visit the African Synodal Continental Assembly website {HERE}

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