Pastoral Letter of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference To the Church in Zimbabwe
and All People of Good Will
The Roman Catholic Church in Zimbabwe has embraced the synodal process inaugurated in October 2021 by the Holy Father Pope Francis. This process entitled “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission” seeks to bring all the baptised to take up an active role in the mission given to the Church in Matthew 28: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptising hem in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” In going forth we do so as one family of faith, who work together in love and respect. We are invited to not only proclaim the gospel but to listen, listen first to the Spirit who gives us what we are to say. We are called also to listen to each other as we undertake this work and more importantly listen to those to whom we are called to minister the
unbelievers, those from our Christian churches, those from different religions, politicians, even those who are opposed to what we believe. In listening to each other we grow in communion, and we create a conducive environment for participation in the life and mission of the Church. This synodal journey offers us a unique opportunity to intensively encounter each other in truth as we seek to build a more inclusive Church, a church that listens to the faintest voice, walks along with the slowest among us and seeks to carry the weakest who need help to come along on this faith journey. As your Shepherds we thank you for embracing our invitation to participate actively in this synodal process. We are already experiencing some fruits of the synodal process as you are creating platforms for honest and open dialogue. We consider this process to be an opportune moment for the Church, our country and indeed for the whole world. We therefore, take this opportunity to offer you some reflections on this
important theme in the life of the Church and its mission.
Companions on the journey of faith and life
We are all companions on the journey of faith and life. Indeed, “The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ”.
The Church and her mission
The synodal process demands that we ponder on the missionary identity of the Church. At the beginning of his Pontificate in 2013 Pope Francis described the Church as one that is always going out to the margins and not a Church that waits for people to come in. Given the urgency of the gospel message, this ‘Franciscan’ Church exists to evangelize by going out to seek and find what was lost. It exists to convert people to the way, the truth and the life of Christ. As a Church, “the world in which we live, and which we are called to love and serve, even with its contradictions, demands that the Church strengthen cooperation in all areas of her mission”. In order to do so the Church seeks to walk respectfully with those who may not share our beliefs and our values. We can only cooperate with each other when we start listening, listening to each other’s stories, where we have come from and what has
got us here.