The Nigerian delegates at the Synod on Synodality going on in the Vatican City, Rome, Italy

Meet the Nigerian delegates at the Synod on Synodality going on in the Vatican City, Rome, Italy

– Most Rev. Ignatius Ayau KAIGAMA, Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Arcdiocese(2nd Right).-Most Rev. Lucius Iwejuru UGORJI, Catholic Archbishop of Owerri Archdiocese(2nd left).-Most Rev. Donatus Aihmiosion OGUN, Catholic Bishop of Uromi Diocese(Middle).-Rev. Fr. Vitalis Anaehobi (First Right).-Rev. Fr. Agbonkhianmeghe Emmanuel OROBATOR (First Left).

On Saturday 30 September, the synod kicked off with ecumenical vigil prayer at St Peter’s square which lasted for two hours, featuring prayers and interventions from different christian faith groups. The Holy Father presided at the ceremony. Nigerian choir was among the choral groups that animated the evening.

The vigil was followed by a quick dinner and then all the delegates were transported to fraternal Domus centre in Sacrofanes, a town outside Rome for three days retreat preached by a Dominican priest Fr Timothy Peter Radcliffe.

A synod is a meeting of bishops coming together to discuss a topic of theological or pastoral significance in order to prepare a document of advice or counsel to the pope.

Synodality was described in the 2021 synod preparatory document as “the form, the style, and the structure of the Church.” The document published by the Vatican adds that synodality can also be understood as something that “does not derive from the enunciation of a principle, a theory, or a formula but develops from a readiness to enter into a dynamic of constructive, respectful, and prayerful speaking, listening, and dialogue.” Therefore, Synod on Synodality is a new kind of Synod.

The Synod on Synodality is a multi year worldwide endeavour, instituted by Pope Francis in October 2021, during which Catholics were asked to submit feedback to their local dioceses on the question “What steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our ‘journeying together?’”

The synodal began from the diocesan level, through the national to the continental level, which culminates in two phases at Vatican. The first will take place Oct. 4–28 and the second in October 2024 to advise the pope on the topic “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission.”

However, for the first time, the Synod of Bishops in 2023 will include voting delegates who are not bishops, and almost a third of the 364 voting delegates were chosen directly by the pope, including laypeople, priests, consecrated women, and deacons. Fifty-four voting members are women.

For Pope Francis, the Synod on Synodality is “a journey in accordance with the Spirit, not a parliament for demanding rights and claiming needs in accordance with the agenda of the world, nor an occasion for following wherever the wind is blowing, but the opportunity to be docile to the breath of the Holy Spirit.”

© Fada Henry Charles Umelechi ,October 2023.

Truth Series.

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