African Bishops are to hold their second special Assembly for Africa, known as Synod of Bishops. The Church in Africa in Service to Reconciliation, Justice and Peace has been chosen as their theme for this year. The Synod will be held in the Vatican from October 4-25, 2009. With Scripture reference to Jesus' Sermon of the Mount, "You are the salt of the earth.You are the light of the world" (Mt 5: 13, 14).
The Synod of Bishops: Second Special Assembly for Africa, has ordinarily been called Second African Synod. This was first announced by Pope John Paul 11 in 2004.
African Bishops had met in the Roman Prelates serving on the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops' Special Council for Africa, met for a period of over three days to articulate, work out and establish that framework for the 2009 Synod. The consequent Lineamenta was released and published in June 2006 in several languages, including Arabic and Swahili. The Synod of Bishops is currently working on and responding to the working document, Instrumentum Laboris, which Pope Benedict XV1 brought personally to Cameroon in March 2009.
The Instrumentum Laboris is a presentation of the critical and important aspects of the present ecclesial and social situation in Africa, as well as the challenges the Church in Africa must address. The document is based on the responses received from the various Episcopal Conferences of Africa to the Lineamenta.
The 11 African Synod is an important moment of renewal of hope for the Church in Africa. This is particularly significant because the church wishes to continue, in keeping with its mission, to a harmonious development of man and woman, as well as of the society in Africa. Pope John Paul had convoked the First Synod for Africa in 1994. That Synod formed the basis for Pope John Paul 11's apostolic exhortation "Ecclesia in Africa."
The Second Synod for Africa is expected to promote the conclusions of the First Synod. This Synod is expected to provide effective answers to an African continent thirst for reconciliation and in search of justice and peace. In effect, the local and region regional conflicts, the obvious injustices and violence, involve all men of good will and impacts on the Church in a special way.
The Church in Africa is motivated by the belief and conviction in the brotherhood of men. Thus, the basic assumption and stimulus of the Synod is that in Jesus, we belong to the same family and share the same word and the same Bread of life. Accordingly, if it is true that we are brothers in Christ, children of God and constitute in Him only one family, then there should never again be injustice and wars between brothers.
The Synod will revolve around five basic thematic areas: In the first place, attention will be paid to the theme, "Africa at the dawn of the 21st century." This theme will examine the positive and negative developments in the Continent since the 1994 Synod. Thus, discussions will be on the economic, political and cultural contexts; and the ecumenical and inter-religious dimensions of reconciliation, justice and peace.
Attention is said to be paid to the theme; "Jesus Christ, the Word and Bread of Life." It will examine the Christological centre of the Church's mission of reconciliation, justice and peace.
In the third place, attention will focus on the theme, "The Church as Sacrament of Reconciliation, justice and peace." The principal objective of this theme will be to examine and focus on the mission and social doctrine of the "Church: Family."
In the fourth place, the attention of the Synod will focus on the theme, "Spiritual "Witness if the Church reflecting the light of Christ in the world." The interest of this theme will be to reflect on, examine and assess the contributions of bishops, justice and peace commissions, priests and religious, seminaries and laity.
In the final place, the Synod will focus attention on the theme, Spiritual Resources for the Promotion of Reconciliation, justice and Peace in Africa. The objective of this theme will be to explore the laity's secular vocation, the moral formation of the liturgy and a vision of lay spirituality based on Christian freedom, family and "work well done."
Prayer for the 2nd Special Assembly for Africa
Holy Mary Mother of God, Protectress of Africa, You gave to the world the true Light, Jesus Christ.
Through your obedience to the Father and the grace of the Holy Spirit, You have given us the source of our reconciliation and our justice, Jesus Christ, our peace and our joy.
Mother of Tenderness and Wisdom, show us Jesus, your Son and the Son of God.
Guide our path of conversion, so that Jesus might shine His glory on us in every aspect of our personal, familial and our social lives.
Mother, full of Mercy and Justice, through your docility to the Spirit, the Councilor, obtain for us the grace to be witnesses of the Risen Lord, so that we will increasingly become the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
Mother of Perpetual Help, we entrust to your maternal intercession, the preparation and fruits of the Second Special Assembly for Africa.
Our Lady Queen of Peace: pray for us!
Our Lady of Africa: pray for us!