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Zimbabwe Country Synthesis - Zimbabwe Conference of Catholic Bishops

Below is the country synthesis in the original version and translated automatically using the Google Translate tool.

[Source:
https://catholicchurchnewszimbabwe.wordpress.com/2022/08/12/zimbabwe-catholic-bishops-conference-national-synthesis-document/]

Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference National Synthesis Document

6 AUGUST 2022

I INTRODUCTION

  1. This synthesis seeks to convey the main fruits of the discernment of the People of God across the 8 dioceses of Zimbabwe on the diocesan phase of the synod on synodality between November 2021 and August 2022. The essence of the voice of the Family of God is drawn from the summaries received from the eight dioceses, Women Religious in Zimbabwe, the Catholic University of Zimbabwe, National Major Seminary, Lay Associations and Guilds. Our report is presented in three parts which are:
    The
    Experience of the synod; followed by sections, Fruits and Weeds of Synodality‛ and ‘
    Towards a Synodal Church: Dreams and Aspirations’.
  2. In the effort to capture the common voices of the people’s discernment and dialogue, we have also managed to consolidate some views of the marginalized. The report also captures some surprises in the listening process. We have tried to discern from all these voices the direction which the Spirit is calling the Church in Zimbabwe to take.
  3. The cultural image we have used and drawn upon to sum up our experience of the Synod is that of a family. This is a central concept in our African culture which expresses the profound Christian and African values of communion, fraternity, solidarity and reverential dialogue. We looked at ourselves as a family made up of many different parts and types of domestic families, Small Christian Communities, Deaneries, Dioceses, regional and international Church bodies, Associations, Guilds, Commissions, other Christian Churches, Religions and indeed the whole human family.
  4. Our understanding of the Church as Family of God challenges us to improve the quality of our journeying together within individual families and with other families in the journey of life and faith. We are aware that this model should help us to deepen our interrelationships between the Laity, Religious, Priests and Bishops and our brothers and sisters from other Christian Churches and Religions and to be translated into effective modes of action and living. We also believe that the mission of evangelization is carried out through proclamation and practical life witnessing in service to the Church-Family and by the Church-Family within the extended family of God.
  1. THE EXPERIENCE OF THE SYNOD
  • The invitation by the bishops to every member of the church and others who are non-Catholics to come forward and freely share their views, experiences and vision of the Church was received with excitement by many.[1] However, some were pessimistic about the whole process questioning if their voices were going to reach the ears of bishops and Pope. Others still questioned if the hierarchy was ready to listen and act on their views and concerns. Some priests were concerned that opening up space for everyone to speak openly would harm the Church.[2]
  • The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference and most dioceses invested a lot of financial and human resources in the synodal process with programs for the synodal journey at all levels. The bishops dedicated their 2021 and 2022 annual Plenary meetings to reflecting on the Synod and Collegiality. Towards the close of the diocesan phase the bishops of Zimbabwe issued a pastoral letter entitled
    “Together on the journey of faith and life”.
    reflecting on the synod and its implications for the Church and the world today.
  • Numerous initiatives of raising awareness and promoting consultation were done. Synodal materials were simplified and prepared in local languages. Trainings were done for all the synod contact persons and the diocesan synod extended teams which included priests, religious and lay facilitators. Various forms of consultations were prepared with most done in the context of prayer and scripture. Most dioceses used simplified questionnaires with the traditional methods of assembling people according to the different groups. The synod Prayer, said in various languages and in songs accompanied the process at most liturgical celebrations and meetings.
  • Most dioceses are by and large rural with vast distances and poor road and communication infrastructure. This made it difficult for synodal teams to reach everyone in time. The extension of the diocesan phase was appreciated but even after the extension many referred to the timing of the consultation period as insufficient.
  • Many dioceses made efforts to reach beyond the Church confines which included groups such as prisoners, the homeless and non-practicing Catholics and Christians belonging to other Churches. One diocese particularly made an effort to engage the leaders of the African Traditional Religion. Some dioceses felt that they failed to reach out to some groups such as politicians, small tribes and some sects for various reasons. In some dioceses smaller tribes were overwhelmed by the dominant tribes.
    [3]
    In some instances it was difficult to reach out to politicians out of fear and the toxic nature of the political environment.
  • Generally, the listening and discernment made use of the existing structures in the dioceses such as the various pastoral councils at different levels, Commissions such as the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, Education, Associations and Guilds, and Religious Communities.
  1. SEEDS AND WEEDS OF SYNODALITY
  • A variety of travel companions
  1. The African philosophical thought: I am related therefore I am is especially true of the Church in Zimbabwe as far as traveling companions are concerned.[4] The voices from many dioceses and groups pointed out that our journeying is multi-layered, with companions who hail from both within the Church as well as from its exterior. From the inside, co-travellers are the baptized, the elderly, the sick, those that share the same views as ourselves as well as those we pray with in Small Christian Communities, Sections and Mass Centers. In our neighborhood, we walk hand-in-hand with members of other churches with whom we fellowship from time to time. Community (social) leaders are vital traveling companions. Formal and informal encounters take place at regional, national, interdiocesan, diocesan, deanery, parish and other lower levels through the bishops’ Conference Commissions such as Caritas, Health, Inter-religious dialogue, Ecumenism, Education and Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace.[5]
  2. There is a broad sense that the Church needs to be a more welcoming family, particularly for all people who have experienced exclusion. Some individuals and groups left behind on the journey include those in prison, single mothers and fathers, widows and widowers, those in polygamous marriages, homebound individuals, the blind, the unemployed and the youth and young adults. Other groups identified as left behind are those who belong to minority groups such as the colored and white community, foreign nationals, street kids and people living with disabilities. There are also the nominal Catholics, lapsed Catholics and Christians from other denominations who focus only on criticizing the Catholic ways of life. Some have identified those who do not belong to any established guild or association as a part that is forgotten or left behind. Some voices also identified people who suffer from what they believe to be spirit possession, witchcraft and curses as the overlooked or outright dismissed by their leaders. Others have expressed concern about the attitude of parish priests, bishops and some lay people toward members of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal who are treated with suspicion and even left out. Some marginal voices have also identified those with different sexual orientation as part of the group left behind. Others note that ex-priests and ex-nuns are usually left behind and even treated as outcasts.[6] Some also view some religious congregations operating in dioceses as part of those left behind or in some cases as those who deliberately choose to exclude themselves.[7]
  3. Reasons for this situation have been described by some as emanating from cultural differences, socio-economic hardships, political differences, jealousy and unequal treatment of people in the Church. Some do not believe that the existing synodal structures fully answer to their call for communion, participation and mission for they feel these structures actually suffocate them. Most parishes and Catholic institutions do not have provisions for people with disabilities which does not facilitate their participation. The divorced feel left behind because most parishes do not have relevant programs that cater for them.
    [8]
    Negative attitudes and prejudices lead to judgments, unfair treatment and discrimination against single mothers and the divorced.[9] Guilds and Associations which are exclusive by nature are replacing the SCC’s which are more family based and inclusive. Some feel like the Catholic Church pays little attention or plays down instances when a person needs to be protected against the power of the devil or to be delivered from his spiritual domination.[10]

(ii) Listening and speaking out

  1. Many voices have expressed that lack of listening and speaking out may be a serious obstacle to authentic dialogue and the whole process of journeying together.[11] On a positive note, most people appreciate that to a certain extent the Church lists informally and formally using canonical and non-canonical synodal bodies and structures.[12] Listening helps people to know that they belong, that they are loved, and that they are valued. Some have shared that they have had poor experiences of listening in the Church. Some of the people in positions of power more often than not exercise their power without listening especially to the marginalized such as women, children and youth.
  2. The reasons for not speaking out which were noted include fear of victimization,[13] poor leadership, gender discrimination.[14] ignorance about the formal reporting structures, rigidity of church structures, and absence of formal online communication channels.[15] Another hindrance to listening and speaking out is the attitude by leadership who refuse correction from lay people and are intolerant to divergent viewpoints. Failure to properly articulate issues by leadership also leads to confusion with people filling the gaps with damaging rumors and misinformation. Communication channels in most parishes and Catholic institutions is top-down/monologue with little or no room for feedback, dialogue and listening.

(iii) Liturgy and prayer

  1. A Shona idiom’ “Ukama igasva hunozadziswa nekudya!” which means relationships are hardly complete unless you partake of a meal together expresses the centrality of sharing a meal together in the family. The synod reports confirm the centrality of the Eucharist in the lives of Catholic communities. Communal listening to the Word of God and active participation in the celebration of the Eucharist brings about healing, unity and growth in faith.
  2. Many express the joy of active participation in the vibrant rich and inculturated liturgy.[16] Lay people appreciate their roles in liturgy as Readers, Service Leaders in the absence of a priest, Extraordinary Ministers of Communion, Funeral ministers, hospitality members, animators, choir members and many other liturgical responsibilities.[17] There is a deliberate effort to involve children and the youth in the liturgical celebrations serving as dancers and altar servers.[18] Other lay ministries such as the permanent diaconate and lector are highly developed in some dioceses.
  3. Some voices bemoan the lack of understanding of the sacraments and the Holy Mass in particular. A number of those who cannot receive the eucharist due to various reasons feel excluded. Some members of the Catholic family such as single mothers, feel excluded in prayer and communal celebrations with some parishes exerting unjustifiable long probation periods on these women. One diocese strongly expressed the poor attendance and participation by men.[19]
  4. Some of the reasons shared for lack of active participation include a lack of understanding and appreciation of the liturgy. The failure to pay attention to minority races and tribes and use of their languages has also been seen to contribute to lack of active participation. Some have decried poorly prepared liturgies and little attention given to the liturgical needs and sensitivities of young people which have contributed to the exodus of many youths and young adults from the Church.[20] Some marginal voices decried the poor homilies and abuse of the pulpit by some priests.[21]
  5. Voices from missions and ‘out-stations’ have expressed the insufficient attention given to them by their pastors due to sparse population distribution and the poor road infrastructure. Such centers only have mass once in a while and this affects their spiritual well-being. Poverty which is very prevalent in rural areas also affects the services given by the priests as they struggle with resources. Participation in liturgical celebrations is biased against people with disabilities.[22]
  6. Some voices raised concerns of liturgical celebrations and spiritual gatherings appearing to be used as occasions for fundraising. This practice paints a bad picture on the real purpose of these occasions. Others still noted that the noble cause of stipends and stool fees is sometimes exaggerated by some priests and leaders who tend not to pay attention to the poor who cannot afford the stipulated fees. Some have even raised cases where some people are denied sacraments and services such funeral and memorial masses because they cannot afford the stool fee or the transportation for the priest. In some such cases pastors of other Churches end offering services to Catholics.

(iv) Co-responsibility between clergy, consecrated and laity

  • Many reports acknowledge the principle that all; the clergy, consecrated and laity are sent as co-workers from the time of baptism, even though we exercise different roles and responsibilities. Many people are proud of their faith with several efforts made to grow in understanding the faith by lay people. Guilds and Associations play a key role in evangelization. Others acknowledge growth in steps toward collaboration and healthy relationships.[23]
  • The consultations revealed that as much as Catholics are convinced and proud of their faith, they are not confident to actively share their faith with others.[24] A lack of deep knowledge and scarcity of substantial faith reduces the laity’s performance to liturgical and a few other undertakings in the church. Basically, people feel ill-equipped to respond to the call to evangelize. Some still have the misconception that priests and the consecrated have to do it all while they occupy the backbenches.[25] Others still feel the church stifles them that they cannot fully express their potential. Some tend to even shine and become ardent evangelizers once they leave the Catholic Church.[26]
  • There is a common cry of the poor quality of catechesis due to lack of serious involvement by the ordained in planning, directing and overseeing catechesis and the poor formation of lay catechists. Parents are also not well prepared to play their role as family catechists. Some pointed out the lack of updated catechisms which address modern issues affecting the faithful.[27]

(v) Companions on the journey of life

  • The structures and pastoral programs that exists in the country at national, inter-diocesan and diocesan levels helps the Church in Zimbabwe to be a family. Commissions, Associations, Clergy and religious, diocesan and national bodies play a crucial part are beautiful avenues for our walking together.
  • The experience of dialoguing with other spheres of society such as culture, the civil society and people who live in poverty has been mutually enriching.

The Church cooperates with government, NGO’s and civil society in offering important services to all people without discrimination in the areas of education, health and justice and peace. The Church is a well-respected partner in the journey of life. She supports members committed to the service of the society like teachers, nurses and social workers.

  • Besides offering the basic services the Church also plays her prophetic voice. Unfortunately, whenever the Church plays her prophetic role, it is construed as ‘political’.[28] Even when the Church would make an effort to dialogue with the state on matters concerning the human condition on poverty, human dignity and rights she is held with suspicion. The Church has therefore, unfortunately limited dialogue going on local levels of the Church except for bishops’ conference through formal, informal meetings and pastoral letters. [29] Freedom in proclaiming the Gospel is scarce as threats of victimization by political leaders loom large over the proclaimers’ heads.[30] The number of Catholics in civic and political positions of influence is dwindling.[31]

(vi) Dialogue with Christian Brethren

  • Most dioceses expressed positive experiences consisting of healthy and respectful relationship with Christians of different confessions. Key areas in which the local church collaborates with other churches at grassroots level include communal moments of funerals, weddings, Holy Week celebrations and praying for rain.[32] At the national level more is done in areas of peace education, health, reconciliation, social justice and development.
  • On the darker side some have indicated that there is discrimination between the Catholics and some non-Catholics. Some denominations tend to look down upon others hence creating animosity among churches.[33] Of concern, however, was the experience of churches and sects which seem to be aiming at degrading and attacking the Catholic Church and proselytize, targeting Catholics.

It was noted that Catholics are prey to all new Churches scouting for new members. Dialogue with such groups has been difficult. Some voices agree that as Catholics, we usually do not reach out to other denominations, we rather avoid getting into deeper conversation that has to do with faith practices and mostly we retreat allowing to hear them or hide ourselves.

  • Several reasons have been identified for the above situation such as prejudices, misconceptions, presumptions and personal bias. Lack of knowledge of the other also contributes to this. Catholic priests are well trained compared to other ministers and this contributes to the tendency on the part of Catholic priests to look down on pastors of other churches.[34]

(vii) Authority and participation

  • The Church community usually identifies the goals to be pursued and the way to reach them, the steps to be taken through structures, pastoral plans, meetings, congresses, workshops, retreats, and pilgrimages. Synodal bodies such as Pastoral Councils in parishes and dioceses, Presbyteral Council and others are in existence and satisfactorily function well in a synodal manner. There is a deliberate effort through pastoral plans and training centers to promote lay ministries and the responsibility of lay people. There is a growing awareness on the need to involve the youths and women in decision making.
  • Some women religious have noted that there is a lot of male dominance in the Church with a tendency by some priests to treat women religious as subordinates or inferior. Their contribution is sometimes interfered with even barred by the Priests. Clericalism is a cancer that has manifested in some communities where priests want to do and control everything at the parish with cases of the abuse of power, money and Church property by the clergy and religious in some instances. The laity in some cases are just expected to pay, pray and obey.
  • Although there is representation of the lay in the structures and a semblance of consultation, authority and governance is still seen to be by and large a preserve of the ordained.[35] Owing to this, there appears to be very little or no accountability by the clergy to their parishioners. Efforts to build teams and promote co-responsibility are realized in Small Christian Communities, parishes, Associations and Guilds.

(viii) Discerning and Deciding

  • Discerning and deciding are a serious challenge in the local Church because of the reality of the existence of different voices on issues. There are different voices, and there are diverse spirits moving people and so the need to always discern. Many voices have expressed the positive role of synodal structures that aid discerning and deciding. The various Councils in the Church are avenues through which discernment and decisions are reached, each in its own special way. Regular meetings are held by each council so as to decide on the running of the Church affairs.
  • Some voices however expressed those decisions do not always seem to be reached after listening to everyone. It is easy to just discuss issues, share views and wait for the bishop or priest or leader to decide. The process of discernment demands patience, prayer, humility. We do not know how to discern well together. We are yet to learn to be a discerning church, a Church able to identify the work of the Holy Spirit among us and to follow its lead. The discernment process also helped us to be aware of the importance of recording, reporting and filing of minutes which are important voices in the process of discernment and deciding.
  1. TOWARDS A SYNODAL CHURCH IN ZIMBABWE
  2. The Church is invited to revisit the existing synodal structures, review the spirit to fully live communion, achieve participation and realize our mission in the local church in Zimbabwe. There is need to consider setting up councils of the Laity.[36] Pastoral Councils are called to use a round table approach where everyone can be recognized and listened to. The formation and resuscitation of Small Christian Communities for everyone to be involved in the life of the Church is essential.
  3. The Holy Spirit is calling us to be a listening and discerning Church, to listen to the multitude of voices that speak to us.[37] Listening to the voice of the youth was frequently mentioned and deemed crucial. We should also take heed of the thoughts and ideas of the extended family and companions in the journey; non-Catholics, Politicians and non-believers. These are voices in our neighborhood we cannot afford to avoid lest we miss out God’s whispers through them! [38]
  4. The Holy Spirit is inviting us to reflect the fact that a good number of its family members do not receive Holy Communion. A human, Christian and common approach urgently needs to be implemented to address the question of this group such as single mothers and those in polygamous marriages. There is need for the Church to pay serious and urgent attention to the people who are struggling with issues of spirit possession, curses and witchcraft.
  5. The Holy Spirit calls us to grow in synodality by actively seeking out the poor and minority groups and tribes. This could be done through effective pastoral programs that directly address the needs of these groups. Our church buildings have to be constructed in a way to accommodate people with disabilities and the elderly.[39]
  6. The Holy Spirit calls us to be open and receptive to change and ongoing formation. Journeying together entails receptivity to change, formation, and ongoing learning. Canon law needs to be constantly updated and to be contextualized. Constitutions of guilds and associations need revision and updating in the spirit of the gospel and synodality.[40]
  7. The Holy Spirit invites us to create deliberate open and safe platforms for listening and speaking out. In cases of abuse people should be made aware of the processes of inquiry. Church governance issues should be marked by transparency and inclusivity. Lay people expect to be part of wide and more informed consultation by the bishop, Chief Shepherd in the diocese in the placement and transfers of priests, hoping this will translate into right priests being placed in parishes and places commensurate with their gifts.
  8. The Holy Spirit calls on the Church to a well-developed program of liturgical and missionary formation of lay people in order for them to be empowered to be missionary disciples and to participate in liturgical celebrations in a meaningful manner. Priests are expected to be more involved in coordinating catechesis in missions and parishes.
  9. The Holy Spirit calls on the ordained and consecrated to recommit themselves in the life and service of the church and remain true to their vocation in the background of alcohol abuse, sex and financial scandals.[41] Some people even suggested that our priests should marry as a solution to do away with the scandals. The voices of the baptized also call for the regulation of the stool fees and the sensitivity on dealing with the poor when it comes to the contributions in the Church.[42]
  10. The Holy Spirit calls for the Church to a continual engagement and dialogue, both reverential and prophetic with the world of politics even at local levels. There is also a serious need to form of our Catholic politicians in the Social Teaching of the Church.[43]
  11. The Holy Spirit calls on the Church in Zimbabwe to continue promoting ecumenical and interfaith dialogue through common theological reflections, shared worship, dialogue and action on social justice. It is important for all parishes and Catholic institutions to embrace ecumenism without judging the ‘other’ as being inferior or misguided. This requires openness and the suspension of presumptions, individualism, and bigotry while adhering to the Catholic faith and ethos.[44]
  12. The thirst for formation runs through almost every synod submission. The Holy Spirit calls on the local Church to build on existing formation programs to develop clear programs of formation in synodality at all levels of the Church.[45] Forming ourselves in synodality entails receptivity to learning and change, both personal and institutional. The formation should cover areas such as synodal structures, servant leadership, listening and speaking and discerning and deciding. It should help us broaden our approach to decision-making to help us see to it.
  • CONCLUSION
  • Largely, what emerges from the fruits, seeds and weeds of synodality are voices that have great love for the Church, voices that dream of a Church of credible witnesses, a Church that is inclusive, open and welcoming Family of God and a Church where everyone is conscious of their responsibilities in the mission. There is a strong sense of the need to repent from our failures, avoid the spirit of the world from entering the church and its structures and live up to what God expects of us as Church.

[1] Chinhoyi Diocese, Harare Archdiocese, Hwange Diocese, Gweru Diocese, Gokwe Diocese, Mutare Diocese

[2] National Pastoral Team, Gweru Diocese, The Conference of Major Superiors in Zimbabwe (CMRS)

[3] The Tonga in Gokwe, Ndebele in Gweru and Shangani and Vhenda in Masvingo.

[4] Chinhoyi Diocese

[5] Bulawayo Archdiocese, Chinhoyi Diocese, Gweru Diocese and Harare Archdiocese.

[6] Women Religious, Chinhoyi Diocese, Masvingo Diocese and Mutare Diocese.

[7] ZCBC Plenary on Synodality 2022

[8] Catholic University of Zimbabwe (CUZ)

[9] Marian Guilds in Zimbabwe, ZCBC Plenary on Synodality 2022.

[10] Catholic Charismatic Renewal members (a small group that visited the office of the national contact person)

[11] CUZ, Harare Archdiocese, Masvingo Diocese

[12] Bulawayo Archdiocese, Hwange Diocese,

[13] Masvingo Diocese, Harare Archdiocese

[14] Mutare Diocese, Gokwe Diocese, Women Religious,

[15] Harare Archdiocese

[16] Gokwe Diocese, Women Religious in Zimbabwe, Hwange Diocese.

[17] Gokwe Diocese, Hwange Diocese, Bulawayo Archdiocese

[18] Bulawayo Archdiocese

[19] Bulawayo Archdiocese.

[20] CUZ

[21] Women Religious, Youth (Synod Consultation with National Youth Leaders).

[22] Harare Diocese, Gokwe Diocese, Gweru Diocese.

[23] Chinhoyi Diocese, Women Religious, Gokwe Diocese,

[24] Bulawayo Archdiocese.

[25] Chinhoyi Diocese, Women Religious in Zimbabwe,

[26] ZCBC Plenary 2020

[27] Mutare Diocese, Marian Guilds, National Pastoral Team, ZCBC Plenary Meeting 2022

[28] Chinhoyi, National Pastoral Team

[29] Masvingo Diocese

[30] Chinhoyi Diocese

[31] Bulawayo Archdiocese

[32] Bulawayo Archdiocese, Mutare Diocese, Hwange Diocese, Chinhoyi Diocese, Gweru Diocese.

[33] Masvingo Diocese, Marian Guilds

[34] Conversation with a Pastor of Zimbabwe Assemblies of God Africa (ZAOGA), one of Zimbabwe’s oldest Pentecostal churches.

[35] ZCBC Plenary 2022

[36] National Pastoral Team, ZCBC Plenary 2022

[37] Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Hwange, Gokwe dioceses.

[38] Chinhoyi Diocese

[39] National Major Seminary

[40] National Pastoral Team, Marian Guilds,

[41] Harare

[42] Mutare, Harare, Masvingo Diocese.

[43] National Seminary

[44] Masvingo, Mutare Diocese.

[45] Harare, Masvingo, Hwange

National summary document of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference

Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord

AUGUST 6, 2022

I. INTRODUCTION

  1. This synthesis aims to convey the main fruits of the discernment of the People of God in the 8 dioceses of Zimbabwe at the diocesan phase of the synodal synod between November 2021 and August 2022. Outlined is the essence of the voice of the Family of God from summaries received from eight dioceses, nuns in Zimbabwe, the Catholic University of Zimbabwe, the National Seminary, lay associations and guilds. Our report consists of three parts, which are:

    Experience

    synod; followed by sections Fruits and Weeds of Synodality” i ” Toward a synodal church: dreams and aspirations.”
  2. In an effort to capture the common voices of human discernment and dialogue, we have also been able to capture some of the views of the marginalized. The report also contains some surprises in the listening process. We tried to distinguish from all these voices the direction in which the Spirit is calling the Church in Zimbabwe to follow.
  3. The cultural image we used and drew on to summarize our Synod experience is the family. This is the central concept of our African culture, which expresses the deep Christian and African values of communion, fraternity, solidarity and respectful dialogue. We looked at ourselves as a family made up of many different parts and types of home families, small Christian communities, deaneries, dioceses, regional and international church bodies, associations, guilds, commissions, other Christian churches, religions and the whole human family .
  4. Our understanding of the Church as the Family of God calls us to improve the quality of our journey together within individual families and other families on the journey of life and faith. We are aware that this model should help us deepen our mutual relations between laity, religious, priests and bishops and our brothers and sisters from other Churches and Christian Religions, and translate into effective ways of acting and living. We also believe that the mission of evangelization is carried out through the proclamation and practical witness of life in the service of the Church-Family and by the Church-Family in the extended family of God.
  1. SYNOD EXPERIENCE
  • The bishops’ invitation to every member of the Church and other non-Catholics to come forward and freely share their views, experiences and vision for the Church was received with excitement by many. [1] But some were pessimistic about the whole process, questioning whether their voices would reach the ears of the bishops and the Pope. Others continued to question whether the hierarchy was willing to listen and act on their views and concerns. Some priests feared that opening a space where everyone can speak openly would harm the Church. [2]
  • The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference and most dioceses have invested a lot of financial and human resources in the synodal process, preparing agendas for the synodal journey at all levels. The bishops dedicated their annual plenary meetings in 2021 and 2022 to reflect on the Synod and collegiality. At the end of the diocesan phase, the Zimbabwean bishops issued a pastoral letter entitled

    “Together on the path of faith and life”,

    reflecting on the synod and its implications for the Church and the world today.
  • Numerous initiatives have been taken to raise awareness and promote consultation. Synodal materials have been simplified and prepared in local languages. Training sessions were held for all synod contacts, and expanded diocesan synod teams, which included priests, religious and lay facilitators. Various forms of consultation were prepared, most of which took place in the context of prayer and Scripture. Most dioceses used simplistic questionnaires with traditional methods of putting people into different groups. The synodal prayer, recited in various languages and sung, accompanied the process at most ceremonies and liturgical meetings.
  • Most dioceses are largely rural with long distances and poor road and communications infrastructure. This made it difficult for the synodal teams to reach everyone in time. The extension of the diocesan phase was appreciated, but even after the extension, many felt that the duration of the consultation was insufficient.
  • Many dioceses made efforts to go beyond the Church, which included groups such as prisoners, homeless and non-practicing Catholics, and Christians belonging to other churches. One diocese in particular has made an effort to engage leaders of a traditional African religion. Some dioceses felt that they had failed to reach certain groups, such as politicians, small tribes and some sects, for various reasons. In some dioceses, the smaller tribes were overwhelmed by the dominant tribes.

    [3]

    In some cases, reaching politicians has been difficult due to fear and the toxic nature of the political environment.
  • In general, listening and discernment benefited from existing structures in dioceses, such as various pastoral councils at different levels, commissions such as the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, Education, Societies and Guilds, and Religious Communities.
  1. SEEDS AND WEEDS OF SYNODALITY
  • Diverse travel companions
  1. African philosophical thought:
    I am related, therefore I am,
    is particularly applicable to the Church of Zimbabwe when it comes to traveling companions.
    [4]
    Voices from a number of dioceses and groups indicated that our journey is multi-layered, with companions coming from both the Church and its environment. From within, fellow travelers are the baptized, the elderly, the sick, those who share the same views as us, and those with whom we pray in Small Christian Communities, Sections and Mass Centers. In our neighborhood, we walk hand in hand with members of other churches with whom we have fellowship from time to time. Community (social) leaders are important travel companions. Formal and informal meetings are held at regional, national, inter-diocesan, diocesan, deanery, parish and other lower levels through Commissions of the Bishops’ Conference, such as Caritas, Health, Interreligious Dialogue, Ecumenism, Education and the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission.[5]
  2. It is widely believed that the Church needs to be a more welcoming family, especially for all those who have experienced exclusion. Some of the people and groups left behind on the journey are prisoners, single mothers and fathers, widows and widowers, people in polygamous marriages, people who are not homebound, the blind, the unemployed, and adolescents and young adults. Other groups identified as left behind are those belonging to minority groups, such as the colored and white community, foreigners, street children and people with disabilities. There are also nominal Catholics, lapsed Catholics and Christians from other denominations who focus only on criticizing the Catholic way of life. Some considered those who do not belong to any established guild or association to be the forgotten or left behind part. Some voices also pointed out that people who suffer from what they believe to be spiritual possession, witchcraft and curses are overlooked or completely rejected by their leaders. Others have expressed concern about the attitude of pastors, bishops and some laymen toward members of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, who are treated with suspicion and even overlooked. Some marginal voices also identified people with a different sexual orientation as part of the group left behind. Others note that former priests and nuns are usually abandoned and even treated as outcasts. bishops and some laymen toward members of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, who are treated with suspicion and even overlooked. Some marginal voices also identified people with a different sexual orientation as part of the group left behind. Others note that former priests and nuns are usually abandoned and even treated as outcasts. bishops and some laymen toward members of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, who are treated with suspicion and even overlooked. Some marginal voices also identified people with a different sexual orientation as part of the group left behind. Others note that former priests and nuns are usually abandoned and even treated as outcasts.
    [6]
    Some also see some religious congregations operating in dioceses as part of those left behind, or in some cases as those that deliberately choose to be excluded.
    [7]
  3. Some describe the reasons for this situation as stemming from cultural differences, socioeconomic difficulties, political differences, jealousy and unequal treatment of people in the Church. Some do not believe that the existing synodal structures fully answer their call to communion, participation and mission, because they feel that these structures actually suffocate them. Most Catholic parishes and institutions do not have provisions for people with disabilities, which does not facilitate their participation. The divorced feel left behind because most parishes do not have adequate programs to serve them.

    [8]

    Negative attitudes and prejudices lead to judgmental, unfair treatment and discrimination against single mothers and divorced mothers.
    [9]
    Guilds and associations, which are inherently exclusive, are replacing SCCs, which are more family-oriented and inclusive. Some believe that the Catholic Church overlooks or downplays cases in which a person needs protection from the devil’s power or liberation from his spiritual dominion. [10]


(ii)

Listening and speaking

  1. Many voices said that the lack of listening and speaking can be a serious obstacle to authentic dialogue and the whole process of traveling together. [11] On the positive side, most people realize that to some extent the Church listens informally and formally using canonical and non-canonical synodal bodies and structures. [12] Listening helps people understand that they belong, that they are loved and appreciated. Some said they had bad experiences with listening in the Church. Some people in positions of power most often exercise power without listening especially to those on the margins, such as women, children and youth.
  2. Fear of victimization should be mentioned as reasons for not speaking out, which were noted [13] , poor leadership, gender discrimination. [14] Unfamiliarity with formal reporting structures, rigidity of church structures, and lack of formal online communication channels. [15] Another obstacle to listening and speaking out is the attitude of leaders who refuse to be corrected by the laity and do not tolerate divergent points of view. Improper articulation of problems by management also leads to confusion as people fill in the gaps with harmful rumors and misinformation. The channels of communication in most parishes and Catholic institutions are top-down / monologic, with little or no room for feedback, dialogue and listening.


(iii)

Liturgy and prayer

  1. Shona’ idiom ”
    Ukama igasva hunozadziswa nekudya!”
    meaning that relationships are not complete unless you eat a meal together, expresses the central importance of eating together as a family. Synodal reports confirm the central role of the Eucharist in the life of Catholic communities. Listening to the Word of God together and actively participating in the celebration of the Eucharist brings healing, unity and growth in faith.
  2. Many express the joy of actively participating in a vibrant, rich and inculturated liturgy. [16] The laity appreciate their role in the liturgy as Readers, Service Leaders in the absence of the priest, Extraordinary Ministers of Communion, funeral ministers, hospitality members, animators, choristers and many other liturgical duties. [17] A deliberate effort is being made to involve children and youth in liturgical celebrations, serving as dancers and altar servers. [18] In some dioceses, other lay ministries, such as the permanent deaconate and lector, are highly developed.
  3. Some voices lament the lack of understanding of the sacraments, especially the Mass. Many people who cannot receive the Eucharist for various reasons feel excluded. Some Catholic family members, such as single mothers, feel excluded in prayer and community services, and some parishes impose unreasonably long probationary periods on these women. One diocese strongly expressed poor attendance and participation by men. [19]
  4. Some of the reasons cited for the lack of active participation are a lack of understanding and appreciation of the liturgy. The lack of attention to minority races and tribes and the use of their languages also contributes to the lack of active participation. Some condemned the ill-prepared liturgies and the little attention paid to the liturgical needs and sensibilities of young people, which contributed to the exit of many youth and young adults from the Church. [20] Some marginal voices have condemned the poor homilies and abuse of the pulpit by some priests. [21]
  5. Voices from missions and “outside stations” expressed insufficient attention paid to them by their pastors due to sparse population distribution and poor road infrastructure. Such centers have a mass only once in a while, which affects their spiritual well-being. Poverty, which is very prevalent in rural areas, also affects services provided by priests who struggle with resources. Participation in liturgical celebrations is biased against people with disabilities. [22]
  6. Some voices raised concerns about liturgical celebrations and spiritual gatherings, which appeared to be used as fundraising opportunities. This practice paints a bad picture of the true purpose of these occasions. Others continued to point out that the noble cause of stipends and theft fees is sometimes exaggerated by some priests and leaders who pay no attention to the poor who cannot afford the agreed fees. Some have even raised cases in which some people are denied the sacraments and the celebration of such funeral and mourning masses because they can’t afford the heft or transportation fee of a priest. In some such cases, pastors of other churches stop offering services to Catholics.


(iv)

Co-responsibility of clergy, consecrated persons and laity

  • Many reports recognize the principle that all of us; clergy, consecrated persons and laity have been sent as co-workers since baptism, although we have different roles and responsibilities. Many people take pride in their faith, making a number of efforts to grow the laity’s understanding of the faith. Guilds and associations play a key role in evangelization. Others recognize the increase in steps toward cooperation and healthy relationships. [23]
  • The consultation showed that while Catholics are convinced and proud of their faith, they are not confident in actively sharing their faith with others. [24] The lack of deep knowledge and paucity of material faith reduces the laity to liturgical and a few other activities in the Church. In general, people feel ill-prepared to respond to the call to evangelize. Some people still have the misconception that priests and consecrated persons have to do it all when they occupy the back pews. [25] Others still feel that the Church stifles them, that they cannot express their full potential. Some even tend to shine and become zealous evangelists after leaving the Catholic Church. [26]
  • There is a widespread cry about the poor quality of catechesis due to the lack of serious involvement of the ordained in planning, directing and supervising catechesis and the poor formation of lay catechists. Parents are also not well prepared for their role as family catechists. Some pointed to the lack of up-to-date catechisms that address contemporary issues of the faithful. [27]


(v)

Companions on the journey of life

  • The pastoral structures and programs that exist in the country at the national, inter-diocesan and diocesan levels help the Church in Zimbabwe to be a family. Commissions, associations, clergy and religious, diocesan and national bodies play a key role, they are the beautiful roads of our walk together.
  • The experience of dialogue with other spheres of society, such as culture, civil society and people living in poverty, was mutually enriching.

The Church works with the government, NGOs and civil society to offer important services to all people without discrimination in the fields of education, health, justice and peace. The Church is a respected partner on the road of life. It supports members involved in serving the community, such as teachers, nurses and social workers.

  • In addition to offering basic services, the Church also plays its prophetic voice. Unfortunately, whenever the Church plays its prophetic role, it is understood as “political.” [28] Even when the Church makes an effort to dialogue with the state on issues of the human condition, poverty, dignity and human rights, it is treated with suspicion. As a result, the Church unfortunately has limited dialogue at the local level, with the exception of the bishops’ conference, through formal, informal meetings and pastoral letters. [29] Freedom to preach the Gospel is rare as threats of victimization from political leaders rise over the heads of preachers. [30] The number of Catholics in civic and political positions of influence is shrinking.[31]


(vi)

Dialogue with Christian brothers

  • Most dioceses expressed positive experiences of having healthy and respectful relationships with Christians of different faiths. Key areas in which the local church collaborates with other churches at the grassroots level include joint moments for funerals, weddings, Holy Week celebrations and prayers for rain. [32] At the national level, more is being done in the areas of peace education, health, reconciliation, social justice and development.
  • On the darker side, some have pointed out that there is discrimination between Catholics and some non-Catholics. Some denominations tend to look down on others, thus creating animosity among the churches. [33] What was disturbing, however, was the experience of churches and sects that seem intent on demeaning and attacking the Catholic Church and proselytizing, targeting Catholics.

It was noted that Catholics fall prey to all the new churches seeking new members. Dialogue with such groups has been difficult. Some voices agree that, as Catholics, we don’t usually reach out to other faiths, tend to avoid getting into deeper conversations that involve faith practices, and mostly withdraw, letting them be heard or hide.

  • Several reasons for the above situation have been identified, such as prejudice, misunderstanding, presumption and personal bias. Lack of knowledge of others also contributes to this. Catholic priests are well-trained compared to other clergy, and this contributes to a tendency on the part of Catholic priests to look down on pastors of other churches. [34]

(vii) Power and participation

  • The church community usually identifies the goals to be achieved and the way to achieve them, the steps to be taken through structures, pastoral plans, meetings, congresses, workshops, retreats and pilgrimages. Synodal bodies, such as Pastoral Councils in parishes and dioceses, the Priests’ Council and others, exist and function satisfactorily in a synodal manner. Pastoral plans and training centers testify to promote lay ministries and lay responsibility. There is a growing awareness of the need to involve youth and women in decision-making.
  • Some nuns have noted that there is a lot of male dominance in the Church, and some priests tend to treat nuns as subordinates or inferiors. Their contributions are sometimes interfered with and even banned by priests. Clericalism is a cancer that has manifested itself in some communities where priests want to do and control everything in the parish, in cases of abuse of power, money and church property by clergy and religious in some cases. Laymen in some cases are simply expected to pay, pray and obey.
  • Although there is lay representation and a semblance of consultation in the structures, authority and governance are still seen as the domain of the ordained. [35] As a result, the clergy appears to have little or no accountability to parishioners. Efforts to build teams and promote shared responsibility are being carried out in small Christian communities, parishes, associations and guilds.

(viii) Discernment and decision-making

  • Discernment and decision-making is a major challenge in the local church due to the fact that there are different voices on issues. There are different voices and different spirits that move people, so one must always discern. Many voices expressed the positive role of synodal structures, which help in discernment and decision-making. The various councils in the Church are paths through which discernment and decisions are reached, each in its own way. Each council holds regular meetings to decide on the conduct of church affairs.
  • However, some of the voices expressing these decisions do not always seem to be reached after listening to everyone. It is easy to just discuss issues, share views and wait for a bishop, priest or leader to make a decision. The process of discernment requires patience, prayer, humility. We do not know how to discern well together. We still have to learn to be a discerning church, a church able to recognize the work of the Holy Spirit among us and follow it. The discernment process also helped us realize the importance of recording, reporting and taking minutes, which are important voices in the discernment and decision-making process.
  1. TOWARDS ZIMBABWE SYNODAL CHURCH
  2. The Church is encouraged to revise the existing synodal structures, to revise the spirit in order to fully live the communion, achieve participation and carry out our mission in the local church in Zimbabwe. The establishment of lay councils should be considered. [36] Pastoral councils are called upon to use a roundtable approach in which everyone can be recognized and heard. It is essential to form and resuscitate small Christian communities so that everyone is involved in the life of the Church.
  3. The Holy Spirit calls us to be a listening and discerning Church, to listen to the multitude of voices that speak to us. [37] Listening to the voice of the youth was often mentioned and considered crucial. We should also pay attention to the thoughts and ideas of extended family and travel companions; non-Catholics, politicians and non-believers. These are voices in our neighborhood that we cannot afford to avoid, lest we miss the whispers of God through them! [38]
  4. The Holy Spirit invites us to reflect on the fact that a sizable number of his family members do not receive Holy Communion. It is urgent to implement a humane, Christian and communal approach to the issues of this group, such as single mothers and people in polygamous marriages. The Church must pay serious and urgent attention to people who are struggling with issues of spirit possession, curses and witchcraft.
  5. The Holy Spirit calls us to grow in synodality by actively seeking out poor and minority groups and tribes. This can be achieved through effective pastoral programs that directly address the needs of these groups. Our church buildings must be constructed to accommodate people with disabilities and the elderly. [39]
  6. The Holy Spirit calls us to be open and receptive to change and ongoing formation. Traveling together entails openness to change, formation and continuous learning. Canon law requires constant updating and contextualization. The constitutions of guilds and associations need to be revised and updated in the spirit of the Gospel and synodality. [40]
  7. The Holy Spirit invites us to create conscious, open and safe platforms for listening and speaking. In cases of abuse, people should be made aware of the investigation. Church governance issues should be characterized by transparency and inclusiveness. The laity expects to be part of a broad and more informed consultation with the bishop, the chief shepherd in the diocese, on the placement and transfer of priests, hoping that this will translate into the proper placement of priests in parishes and places commensurate with their gifts.
  8. The Holy Spirit calls the Church to a well-developed program of liturgical and missionary formation for the laity so that they can become disciple-missionaries and participate in liturgical celebrations in a meaningful way. Priests are expected to be more involved in coordinating catechesis in missions and parishes.
  9. The Holy Spirit is calling the ordained and consecrated to recommit themselves to the life and ministry of the Church and to remain faithful to their vocation in the context of alcohol abuse, sexual and financial scandals. [41] Some have even suggested that our priests should get married as a solution to get rid of the scandals. The voices of the baptized are also calling for the regulation of stool fees and sensitivity in dealing with the poor when it comes to contributions in the Church. [42]
  10. The Holy Spirit calls the Church to constant engagement and dialogue, both devotional and prophetic, with the political world, even at the local level. There is also a serious need to form our Catholic politicians in the Social Doctrine of the Church. [43]
  11. The Holy Spirit is calling on the Church in Zimbabwe to further promote ecumenical and interfaith dialogue through joint theological reflection, joint worship, dialogue and action for social justice. It is important that all Catholic parishes and institutions embrace ecumenism without judging the “other” as inferior or wrong. This requires openness and suspension of presumption, individualism and bigotry while maintaining the Catholic faith and ethos. [44]
  12. The desire for formation runs through almost every synodal submission. The Holy Spirit calls on the local Church to build on existing formation programs to develop clear formation programs in synodality at all levels of the Church. [45] Formation in synodality entails openness to learning and change, both personal and institutional. Formation should cover areas such as synodal structures, servant leadership, listening and speaking, and discernment and decision-making. It should help us broaden our approach to decision-making, help us get on with it.
  • PROPOSAL
  • To a large extent, what emerges from the fruits, seeds and weeds of synodality are voices that have a great love for the Church, voices that dream of a Church of credible witnesses, a Church that is inclusive, open and welcoming to the Family of God and a Church in which everyone is aware of their responsibility in mission. There is a strong sense of the need to repent of our failures, to avoid the entrance of the spirit of the world into the church and its structures, and to live up to what God expects of us as a church.


[1]
Diocese of Chinhoyi, Archdiocese of Harare, Diocese of Hwange, Diocese of Gweru, Diocese of Gokwe, Diocese of Mutare


[2]
National Pastoral Team, Diocese of Gweru, Conference of Major Superiors of Zimbabwe (CMRS)


[3]
Tonga in Gokwe, Ndebele in Gweru, and Shangani and Vhenda in Masvingo.


[4]
Diocese of Chinhoyi


[5]
Archdiocese of Bulawayo, Diocese of Chinhoyi, Diocese of Gweru and Archdiocese of Harare.


[6]
Nuns, Diocese of Chinhoyi, Diocese of Masvingo and Diocese of Mutare.


[7]
ZCBC Plenum on Synodality 2022


[8]
Catholic University of Zimbabwe (CUZ)


[9]
Marian Guilds in Zimbabwe, ZCBC Plenary Assembly on Synodality 2022.

[10] Members of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (a small group that visited the office of the national contact person)

[11] CUZ, Archdiocese of Harare, Diocese of Masvingo

[12] Archdiocese of Bulawayo, Diocese of Hwange,

[13] Diocese of Masvingo, Archdiocese of Harare

[14] Diocese of Mutare, Diocese of Gokwe, nuns,

[15] Archdiocese of Harare

[16] Diocese of Gokwe, nuns in Zimbabwe, Diocese of Hwange.

[17] Diocese of Gokwe, Diocese of Hwange, Archdiocese of Bulawayo

[18] Archdiocese of Bulawayo

[19] Archdiocese of Bulawayo.

[20] CUZ

[21] Nuns, youth (synodal consultation with national youth leaders)

[22] Diocese of Harare, Diocese of Gokwe, Diocese of Gweru.

[23] Chinhoyi diocese, nuns, Gokwe diocese,

[24] Archdiocese of Bulawayo.

[25] Diocese of Chinhoyi, nuns in Zimbabwe,

[26] ZCBC 2020 Plenum

[27] Diocese of Mutare, Marian Guilds, National Pastoral Team, ZCBC Plenary Meeting 2022

[28] Chinhoyi, National Pastoral Team

[29] Diocese of Masvingo

[30] Diocese of Chinhoyi

[31] Archdiocese of Bulawayo

[32] Archdiocese of Bulawayo, Diocese of Mutare, Diocese of Hwange, Diocese of Chinhoyi, Diocese of Gweru.

[33] Diocese of Masvingo, Marian Guilds

[34] An interview with the pastor of Zimbabwe Assemblies of God Africa (ZAOGA), one of the oldest Pentecostal churches in Zimbabwe.

[35] ZCBC Plenum 2022

[36] National Pastoral Team, Plenary ZCBC 2022

[37] Dioceses of Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Hwange, Gokwe.

[38] Diocese of Chinhoyi

[39] National Theological Seminary

[40] National Pastoral Team, Marian Guilds,

[41] Harare

[42] Mutare, Harare, Diocese of Masvingo.

[43] National Seminar

[44] Masvingo, Diocese of Mutare.

[45] Harare, Masvingo, Hwange

Summaries from Polish dioceses, parishes, Synod participants

Archidiecezja Gdańska

Proces konsultacji synodalnych zainaugurowaliśmy w archidiecezji gdańskiej 23 października 2021 roku, tydzień później niż w Kościele powszechnym. Opóźnienie było spowodowane nieobecnością biskupów, przebywających z wizytą ad limina w Rzymie. Synod, który objął osoby związane z Kościołem katolickim oraz z tzw. peryferii, przyjął formę konsultacji – dyskusję prowadziliśmy podczas spotkań synodalnych oraz za pośrednictwem odpowiedzi ankietowych. Konsultacje synodalne dotyczyły wizji Kościoła i oceny jego działalności w obszarze posługi sakramentalnej, ewangelizacyjnej, caritas oraz misyjnej, a odbywały się na poziomie parafialnym, we wspólnotach apostolskich, zgromadzeniach zakonnych, w środowisku osób bezdomnych, nieheteronormatywnych i niewierzących. Na poziomie konsultacji parafialnych organizacją Synodu zajęły się osoby wyznaczone przez proboszczów lub przełożonych wspólnot do kontaktu między diecezją a parafią (wspólnotą).

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Parafia Nawiedzenia NMP w Wożuczynie

Synodalne Spotkania Konsultacyjne w parafii p.w. Nawiedzenia Najświętszej Maryi Panny w Wożuczynie zostały przeprowadzone w trzech sesjach. Pierwsza z nich odbyła się
5 grudnia 2021 r. pt. „Słuchanie – mówienie – celebracja”. Druga miała miejsce 12 grudnia 2021 r. i jej hasłem przewodnim było: „Misja – dialog – ekumenizm”. Trzecia, ostatnia sesja odbyła się 9 stycznia 2022 r. i nosiła nazwę „Władza i synodalność”. Łącznie we wszystkich sesjach prac synodalnych na poziomie parafii uczestniczyło 35 osób. Pracowały one w 4 małych grupach, spośród których jedna z nich stanowiła grupę młodzieży starszej, zaś pozostałe trzy składały się z osób dorosłych. Niniejsza synteza jest zebraniem wszystkich wniosków poszczególnych grup ze wszystkich sesji. Dla usystematyzowania treści, wnioski zostały podzielone na trzy bloki, według tematyki każdej sesji.

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W trosce o Kościół delikatny, cierpliwy i umiejący słuchać – Katolickie Stowarzyszenie Spotkania Małżeńskie

Podróż synodalna (synodal journey) trwa w Spotkaniach Małżeńskich od ponad 40 lat, tj, od założenia Stowarzyszenia. Weryfikacją dobrego kierunku tej podróży są słowa Jezusa: „Po owocach poznacie ich” (Mt 7,20). Przyglądamy się owocom naszej pracy, metodom jakie stosujemy. Modyfikujemy je w miarę potrzeby. Dziękujemy Panu Bogu za tysiące świadectw małżeństw i narzeczonych, którzy rozpoznali dialog jako drogę miłości. To ich świadectwa, szczególnie świadectwa małżeństw w kryzysie, świadectwa wielu związków nieregularnych, a także par przygotowujących się do sakramentu małżeństwa, świadectwa ich rozeznanej, odkrytej na nowo, odbudowanej więzi małżeńskiej, odbudowanej przez nich więzi z Bogiem i Kościołem, rosnąca współodpowiedzialność animatorów za całość Ruchu, a także opinie biskupów i nasze umocowanie w Papieskiej Dykasterii ds. Świeckich ,Rodziny i Życia – są zapisem „podróży synodalnej”.

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Dialog w Kościele jest ważny i potrzebny

O synodzie pierwszy raz usłyszałem w październiku ubiegłego roku i już wtedy, nie do końca świadomy o co w nim jeszcze chodzi, wziąłem udział w spotkaniach synodalnych organizowanych w ramach spotkań liderów grup ruchu Mężczyźni św. Józefa. Niedługo potem, zostałem poproszony o organizację takich spotkań przez ks. Proboszcza własnej parafii. Organizacja spotkań wymusiła głębsze poznanie tematu i odkrycie tego, jak bardzo rozpoczęty synod jest potrzebny Kościołowi.

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