7 February 2022 – In the context of the synodal process currently underway in the Church, For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission, the Africa Coordination Team of the Migrants and Refugees Section organised, in dialogue with the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, an on-line webinar with the aims of listening to experiences taking place of participation of different categories of people on the move in the Synodal process in the African continent and of encouraging a greater participation at the diocesan, national and even continental levels.
As the webinar was being prepared, we were reminded of the basic question proposed in the Synod’s Preparatory Document: “How does this “journeying together,” which takes place today on different levels (from the local level to the universal one), allow the Church to proclaim the Gospel in accordance with the mission entrusted to Her; and what steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow as a synodal Church?” (PD, 2). The main goal of the webinar was then to reflect on this main question: how to integrate the different categories of people on the move into the Synodal process?
The main speakers (keynote addresses) invited were Sister Nathalie Becquart, Xavière, Undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops (see here), and Archbishop Buti Tlhagale, O.M.I. from Johannesburg, South Africa and until then the SACBC Liaison Bishop for Migrants and Refugees matters (see here).
The webinar gathered a few participants coming from several Bishops’ Conferences in Africa (SACBC, Mozambique, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Cameroon and Kenya), including also a few migrants, displaced people and refugees, who in fact were the first to speak for each of the countries represented. See here for the contribution from the diocese of Makurdi in Nigeria and here for the contribution from the Migrants, Refugees and Seafarers Commission of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops. From Kakuma Refugee Camp and Kalobeyei Integrated Settlement in Kenya we share the report for the webinar here and a wonderful proposal of a Synod Program for Refugees here.