Bishop Sabino officially launched the diocesan phase of the Synod on Synodality in Arua Diocese during a Solemn Eucharistic celebration at Ediofe Cathedral on 17th October, 2021.
The live streamed Mass was attended by hundreds of Christians who were eager to understand more on what the call of the Church to Synodality is.
The Official announcement of the Synod was in a letter from His Holiness, Pope Francis, dated 7 th March 2020 under a theme “For a Synodal Church” and the sub theme ‘Communion, Participation and Mission.”
Preaching at the Mass, Bishop Sabino invited the faithful in the Diocese of Arua to become aware of the importance of Synodality in the Life of the Church. He welcomed the Synod Steering Committee led by Fr.James Edema, the Clergy,the Religious, the lay faithfuls while recognising in a special way the presence of the children. “The Children will be the ones to lead this Synod for many more years than any of us,” said the Bishop.
The State Minister for Urban Developement in the Ugandan Cabinet Hon. Kania Mario Obiga encouraged the bereaved family to always stay united and follow in the footsteps of their Father John Arumadri Drazu. He said he always looked up to Arumadri because he was a man of honesty, integrity and reconciliation.
The Bishop described the Synod as a journey of spiritual discernment that takes place in adoration, prayer and dialogue with the word of God. “The Holy Father gives us three important words: encounter, listen and discern. Let us encounter God in prayer and listen to what the Holy Spirit is telling us. Let us always be open to other people and accept to be challenged by their presence and stories of their lives. When we encounter each other, let us listen not only with the ear but also with the heart. This will enable us to understand the challenges in the world of our time. The Holy Father insists that encounter and listening are not ends in themselves but must lead to discernment, spiritual discernment that takes place in adoration, prayer and dialogue with the word of God,” said the Bishop. “The term “Synod” is a Greek word. It means on the same road; traveling together, journeying together. That means as Christians we are to discern the path of our journey together as a pilgrim Church, to listen to the Holy Spirit and to each other.”
The Holy Father officially launched the Synod in a Solemn mass in St.Peter's Basilica in Rome on the 10 th October 2021, that is last Sunday. His Holiness, in an earlier message requested all the Catholic Bishop Ordinaries in the World to officially launch Synod in their respective dioceses in a Solemn Mass in the following Sunday, which happened to be the World Mission Sunday. According to the program that the Holy See has given, the Synod will take place in three stages. The First stage begins today 17/October/2021 to April 2022, it shall run at Diocesan level up to March then in April, it shall be handed over to the national and Continental level.” During this stage, every Diocese is to promote a special prayer, listening, consultation, dialogue and give recommendation. To this effect, the prayer cards with the Synod Prayer shall be produced by the Steering Committee and distributed to all the parishes in Arua Diocese. The Synod Prayer will be recited in all gatherings, meetings, and Holy Mass preferably after the Holy Communion. Consultation, dialogue and recommendation shall be guided by the appointed steering committee members led by the Pastoral Coordinator. The first stage of the Synod in Arua Diocese shall be concluded with a Diocesan Pastoral Council which will run from the 14 th to the 18 th of March, 2022, in which there will be a reflection on the recommendation from the people of God. The official closure will be with a solemn Mass on the Solemnity of St.Joseph at Ediofe Cathedral on 19th March, 2022.
The contribution of Arua Diocese and also those of other dioceses in Uganda shall be submitted to the Uganda Episcopal Conference. The Conference shall reflect on these recommendations and forward them to the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar, (SECAM ). SECAM shall forward the recommendation from Africa to Rome to the Holy Father and that will begin stage 3 in October 2023 which is the final stage. The Holy Father in Communion with the Bishops and all the appointed representatives shall gather for the final deliberations on the recommendations from all over the world, after which the Holy Father shall come with a final document that shall guide the people of God in Our time. The Bishop appealed to the Christians to actively participate in the Synod of Synodality.