By Fr. Limukani Ndlovu, Archdiocese of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
As we move towards the stage of the pre-synodal meeting at the Archdiocesan level, it is critical that I reflect with you some points of interest.
The synodal consultation processes kick started last year with the appointment of the contact person and his Team, the selection, training and commissioning of the extended synodal Team on the 17th of October. The process culminated in the training of further smaller facilitation teams, specifically at Association and parish levels. As the Team, we are extremely grateful to those who mobilized or facilitated the consultations in their respective areas of leadership.
We are highly indebted to the efforts of the facilitation team which was engaged in the review and evaluation of the process despite the challenges encountered ranging from misconceptions, limited resources to time constraints.
It is absolutely gratifying that different groups took the synodal process for listening to people’s desires and aspirations with the sole objective to grow better and bigger in ministry, and relationships. Admittedly, for others the process was an addition of the “pastoral burden” which created a sense of cumbersomeness and redundancy. In such situations, the advice of Pope Francis on pastoral creativity was of help in the New Evangelization. The synodal process which is the expression and manifestation of the true nature of the Church, challenges each and every one to abandon the complacent attitude that says: “We have always done it this way.” Hence the need to be “bold and creative”.
So far, the synthesizing team is ceased with the work of cataloguing the sources of responses as well as compiling the responses in view of preparing for the celebration of the pre-synodal meeting at the diocesan level. The Team is grateful for the parishes and different Church entities which took seriously the invitation to actively participate by way of reflecting on the questions before submitting their responses in good time.
Over and above all, the synodal process brings to clarity the truth that it is important for human beings to raise their existence and relations above that of mere creatures. Without thinking, lives are not worth living. To put it plainly, Socrates says, “An unexamined life is not worth living”. Inevitably, there is great need for the Church not only to introspect but listen as well. Precisely, this is the mind and spirit of Vatican Council II (1962-65) whose main thrust was to open windows so that the Church may see out there and those out there may see what is in the Church.