KENYA: African and European Catholic Bishops Convene in Nairobi for a Seminar on Synodality

By Paschal Norbert

NAIROBI, JANUARY 23, 2024 (CISA) – A select number of Catholic bishops from the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) and the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) are set to hold a three-day seminar from January 23 to 26, 2024, in Nairobi to deliberate on Synodality and the shared commitments and solidarity between the Churches of Africa and Europe.

Under the theme, “Synodality: Africa and Europe Walking Together,” the seminar will include 20 bishops, ten from each continent alongside eight facilitators and assistants. The SECAM team will be led by Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo Besungu, OFM Cap., SECAM President and the CCEE team will be led by Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, SJ, the second Vice President of CCEE and the general rapporteur of the Synod on Synodality.

According to a statement by SECAM dated January 18, the triennial seminars, which started in 2004 have become a vital platform for dialogue, collaboration and mutual understanding between the two continental bodies.

SECAM explains, “The upcoming seminar, initially scheduled for 2021 but postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, promises to build upon the rich discussions of the past while looking ahead to new horizons in the Church’s mission within an increasingly globalized context.”

The key agenda of the seminar will include a presentation and dialogue on “Understanding the Emerging Synodal Church in the light of ‘Praedicate Evangelium’” and insights into the continental impressions of the first session of the Synod on Synodality held in Rome in October 2023,” which will be made by Cardinal Ambongo.

Praedicate Evangelium is an apostolic constitution reforming the Roman Curia and was published and promulgated on March 19, 2022, by Pope Francis. Its mandate constitutes “the primary service that the Church can render to every individual and all humanity in the modern world.”

According to SECAM, the seminar will also focus, especially, on listening to the voices of young people both in the African and European Church, while recognizing their crucial role in shaping the future of the Universal Church.

To SECAM, “This event signifies a continued commitment to the spirit of synodality and mutual enrichment between the Churches of Africa and Europe. The seminar stands as a testament to the power of dialogue and collaboration across continents, seeking to understand and address the unique challenges and opportunities presented in both contexts.”

The last physical meeting of SECAM and CCEE took place in April 2018 in Fatima, Portugal. The theme for reflection was: ‘What globalization means for the Church and cultures in Africa and Europe’.