The Secretary General of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) has called on the Catholic faithful to embrace the Spiritual Conversation Method and to understand the Synod on the Synodality path while expressing concerns about the challenges involved in the Synodal Process.

Speaking at a presser held at AFRICAMA House, the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar (JCAM), headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, on Tuesday, Jan 25, 2023, Fr. Raphael Simbine Junior revealed that many participants expressed difficulty in comprehending the two-year global consultation process that was launched by the Holy Father on Oct. 10, 2021.

“Some difficulties were noted especially in understanding the Synod Process and how to use the method of spiritual conversation,” said Fr. Simbine during the media briefing in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Secretary General of SECAM was giving the updates after the five-day working sessions organised by the African Synodality Initiative (ASI), a partnership of SECAM, the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA), and the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar (JCAM).

“The participants who came from all the regions that comprise SECAM took time to share the experiences of the work done at home following the first working session,” he said referring to the working group meeting that preceded the second working session, convened in Accra Ghana in December 2022.

While echoing the message of the General Secretariat of the Synod on Synodality in Rome, Fr. Simbine urged everyone to discern afresh the document saying, “In that document, the General Secretariat for the Synod called on the entire Church to engage with an open mind in a process of prayerful listening and dialogue.”

Fr. Simbine encouraged participants to be familiar with the Spiritual Conversation Method, to deepen their understanding of the Document of the Continental Stage (DCS), and to ensure that every delegate at the forthcoming assembly in Addis Ababa is familiar with the document before the scheduled convention at the beginning of March 2023.

“All participants shall return home with the mission of preparing the delegates for the Continental Synodal Assembly in Addis Ababa to familiarize themselves with this document and the use of the spiritual conversation method.” said the clergy who moderated the working sessions.

He went o to underscore the need to collaborate with Bishops and relevant offices to ensure that no Catholic is left behind, “for it is the wish of the Holy Father Pope Francis that we all join together; listen to one another and, guided by the Holy Spirit, decide the pathway of the church now and into the future.”

Prior to the presser, participants in the working sessions prepared, and approved the program of the Continental Synodal Plenary Assembly.

The team also released a draft of the African Synodal Document that will guide the conversations in the plenary slated to take place in the first week of March 2023 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with more than 200 delegates, both religious and lay expected to attend.

The SECAM secretary general buoyed up members of the catholic media while acknowledging their role in communicating about Synod on Synodality.