AFRICA/KENYA – Synod 2021-2023: “Do Not Be Bystander”: says Bishop Muhatia

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Nairobi – The Synod on Synodality, “Is an ecclesial journey that has a soul that is the Holy Spirit”, which the Pope will inaugurate next October, 9 and 10, 2021, explains the vice president of the Bishops’ Conference of Kenya Msgr. Maurice Muhatia Makumba, bishop of the diocese of Nakuru. Addressed to the more than one hundred participants in the recent webinar on the topic, Bishop Muhatia reiterated Pope Francis’ appeal for all the faithful to be involved in the next XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops which will end in 2023.
The prelate urged every Christian, regardless of their position in the Church, to actively participate in the synodal preparations for a better outcome of the event. “I encourage and invite every one of you not to be a bystander in this process, not to sit on the fence for there is no room for spectators”, reads the note sent to Fides. “The Church of God is for the people of God, a body of Christ which is all of us together called to journey as a people baptized and to participate fully in the kingly and prophetic mission of Jesus Christ”, explained the bishop of Nakuru, underlining the importance of the role of the lay faithful for the growth of the Church. The prelate’s hope is that the event will be a common journey for the laity, pastors and the Bishop of Rome, “a sort of decentralized synod”.
After the official inauguration of the Synod, the Diocesan phase will then follow with the launch in all local churches by the diocesan bishops Sunday, October 17, after the appointment of “diocesan synod coordinators, who will be the point of reference in the diocese and the liaison with the Bishops’ Conference”.
Explaining the process according to which the synodal phases will take place, Msgr. Muhatia explained that the collected material will be sent to the respective Episcopal Conferences, which the bishops will synthesize “as they listen to what the Spirit has inspired in the Churches entrusted to them” and then send the findings to the General Secretariat who will draft the first Instrumentum laboris, based on the responses from the local Churches. These will be published and sent to those particular Churches, from September 2022 to March 2023, which will lead to the continental phase. Each continental group will then draft a final document which will be sent to the General Secretariat in March 2023, and a second Instrumentum laboris, based on the continental responses will be drafted. The process will culminate in October 2023, marked by Universal phase with the celebration of the General Assembly of Bishops in Rome, and presided over by the Bishop of Rome.