Having “a deep knowledge and clear understanding” of Instrumentum Laboris, the working document for the XVI Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops popularly known as the Synod on Synodality, is one of the aims of a planned seminar targeting African delegates.

In his message at a Tuesday, June 20 press conference about the Synodal working document and the Methodology of the first session of the Synod scheduled for October 2023, the Secretary General of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) said the date for the seminar that is to be realized in collaboration with the African Synodality Initiative (ASI) will be announced in due course.

“Through this seminar, we hope to help SECAM delegates achieve many things. First, to acquire a deep knowledge and clear understanding of the Instrumentum Laboris for the Synodal Assembly and its implications for the Church in Africa,” Fr. Rafael Simbine Junior said about the ongoing preparations for the Synod on Synodality, which Pope Francis extended to 2024.

In his Angelus address on 16 October 2022, the Holy Father shared his decision to divide the next Synod of Catholic Bishops in Rome into two sessions: October 2023 and October 2024.

In his message at the June 20 press conference, Fr. Simbine said the planned seminar will also seek “to deepen the use of the conversation in the Spirit, drawing on the experiences from the African Synodal Continental Assembly, in order to foster meaningful and inclusive conversations, and active listening and dialogue as essential elements of synodality.”

The planned SECAM seminar, the member of Mozambique’s Xai-Xai Diocese said, will also be seeking “to review and reflect on the African Synodal Document, which was adopted as the official document for the African Church during the Continental Assembly, in order to deepen delegates' familiarity with its content and recommendations and to ensure its integration into their contributions and conversations during the Synodal Assembly.”

He also said that the seminar will provide an opportunity for SECAM delegates “to reflect on critical and important African issues to be shared during the Synod, including unique challenges, aspirations, and contributions of the Church in Africa, thus enabling the African delegation to speak with a united voice and effectively address the concerns of the Church in the African context.”

He added, “We hope that an enhanced understanding of the Instrumentum Laboris by SECAM delegates will enable them to actively contribute to conversations during the Synodal Assembly."

During the planned seminar, SECAM delegation to the Synod on Synodality will also "be equipped to identify and articulate with clarity and depth key African issues, ensuring that the concerns, challenges, and aspirations of the Church in Africa are well represented during the Synodal Assembly", Fr. Simbine said.

The African delegation will, through the facilitators that SECAM and ASI are to identify and engage, be equipped with necessary skills, perspectives and knowledge that will enable them to actively contribute to the Synodal Assembly in Rome, he added in reference to planned seminar.

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