The Synodal Continental Assembly for Africa opened this morning in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) with the Holy Mass presided by Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, Archbishop of Luxembourg and Relator General of the XVI General Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, who reminded that “Synod is not about power. It is not about democracy. It is about the Holy Spirit. It is about a Church which is open to the world. Its mission is to all humanity. It is a Church which knows how to pray. It is a Church in line with the Holy Spirit” (more on his homily here).
The four-day event under the theme: “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission” has gathered 206 participants from across the continent all determined to deliver a document that will represent the true voice of Africa. Among them are nine cardinals, 29 bishops, and 41 priests. The rest are consecrated people and lay people including women, men, and the youth, and representatives of the other faith.
The meeting is being presided by Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo, the newly elected President of the Symposium of the Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), and attended also by Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary General of the Synod.
The morning session started with a welcoming address by the SECAM Secretary General, Fr. Rafael Simbine Junior, who urged participants to share the African experience of the Synod on Synodality (more on his address here).
For his part Bishop Lúcio Muandula, SECAM’s first Vice President introducing works through a time of prayer has invited participants “to listen to each other about what the Holy Spirit is commanding the Church Family of God in Africa in order to start a new era of evangelization” (more on his address here).
Work proceeded with the presentation of the «spiritual conversation” method by Fr Giacomo a Consultor of the General Secretariat of the Synod (more on his address here).