Pope Francis to engage African university students in virtual dialogue on Synodality
Paul Samasumo - Vatican City.
The young people from some of Africa’s Catholic Universities will engage in a synodal conversation with Pope Francis.
An African network for students
During the virtual synodal encounter between Pope Francis and students, the Holy Father is expected to speak about the challenges facing Africa’s young people and give guidance. The students, in turn, will share their experiences in an unfiltered manner.
According to the organisers, nine questions have been identified. The questions highlight some key challenges that young people, in Africa, face.
Speaking to ACI Africa ahead of the encounter, Fr. Emmanuel Bueya of the Pan-African Catholic Theology and Pastoral Network (PACTPAN), which is organising the virtual event, said that the engagement between the Pope and the African students would also be an opportunity for them to form a network that tackles some of their ideas.
Not an opportunity for lamenting
Countering some perceptions, Fr Bueya told ACI Africa that the meeting with the Pope would not an occasion to lament about the continent's difficulties.
“Even though we face many challenges in Africa, our goal in this dialogue with Pope Francis is not to complain to the Holy Father. Of course, the students will share with him the situation of the continent, ask him to listen to specific challenges in various African countries, but most importantly, the goal will be to beg him to accompany the young people in their daily struggles in Africa,” Fr. Bueya said.
Fr Bueya echoed the words of the Nigerian Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Mathew Hassan Kukah. The eloquent Nigerian prelate urged African students to see their participation in the virtual Synod on Synodality with the Pope as “a time for revelation” and not a moment to lament. “This should not be a time for lamentation but a time for revelation,” Bishop Kukah said.
In part, the idea is also to engage African university students in the life of the Church and society.
Building bridges across Africa
Billed as “Building Bridges Across Africa: A Synodal Encounter Between Pope Francis and University Students,” PACTPAN indicated that some African Bishops have also been invited to join the dialogue along with participants from Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Zambia.
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