Angola. The synodal process is well underway in various dioceses of Angola and São Tomé.
Anastácio Sasembele - Luanda, Angola.
This time around, the Synod of Bishops is not being celebrated only in the Vatican but in each particular Church of the five continents. The Synod is following an itinerary that consists of listening, discernment and consultation.
A Synod in three phases
At the request of Pope Francis, the next XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops Synod has been divided into a three-year journey. The idea is to have the people of God at the centre of the Synod itself. The three-phase synodal journey inaugurated by the Pope last year in October comprises a diocesan phase, then a continental phase, culminating in a third and conclusive phase. In this last stage, the world's Bishops will gather at the Vatican in October 2023 to deliberate on issues collected from the whole Church.
Angola is also living this particular moment of the Church that began in October last year.
A decentralised process
Fr João Pedro, President of the Conference of Major Superiors of Religious Institutes in Angola, speaking after a meeting with the religious, stressed that the Synod experience in religious congregations is progressing well.
It is the first time in the history of the Church that a synod begins via a decentralised process. There had been initial fears that perhaps the faithful in Angola could miss out on this vital journey launched by Pope Francis. The fears have since been allayed.
Fr Bonifácio Tchimboto, the parish priest of the São Pedro, do Liro community in Lobito, Benguela Diocese, highlights the motto of this experience: Communion, participation and mission. He says that the Synod is the proper way of doing and being Church.