African Synod 2009


What is a SYNOD?

[From Greek synodus, an assembly].  Generally, a Synod is an ecclesiastical gathering for discussion of matters relating to faith, morals or discipline. It can be held at local diocesan level under the bishop of the diocese or at international level when all the bishops of the Church assemble together for a General Council of the Church.  The Pope may also convene a Synod of bishops and other advisors from a particular region or to discuss the situation in a particular region.  The African Synod is such.

Has there been an African Synod before?

The 1994 Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops took place from 10 April until 8 May, with the theme: “The Church in Africa towards the Third Millennium”. That Synod addressed the many and varied issues affecting the Church in Africa – Evangelisation, Inculturation, Dialogue with traditional religion, with Islam and with other Christians, the Christian Family, Jutice and Peace, Refugees, AIDS, Development, Social Communications, Seminary and Religious Formation, Education, Priests, Religious, Catechists, Lay Missionaries, Women and Youth.  The Synod was made up of Holy Father with 35 Cardinals, one Patriarch, 39 Archbishops, 146 Bishops and 90 Priests.  The full message of the 1994 Synod here…

Who attends the Synod?

All the Episcopal Conferences in Africa send delegates.  The Pope appoints some cardinals, bishops, priests, religious and lay people with particular interests or who may have a particular contribution to make as delegates, experts, auditors and advisors.

The African Synod (2009)

The Second Special Assembly for Africa, popularly known as the Second African Synod of Bishops, took place in Rome from 4 – 25 October 2009. The theme of the Synod was “The Church in Africa in service to reconciliation, justice, and peace:  You are the salt of the earth… you are the light of the world.”

Official Opening: The Homily of Pope Benedict XVI can be viewed here and sets the tone for the Synod.

Some Resources:

The AFJN (Africa Faith and Justice Network)
presents some material on the preparations for the Synod here….

The Launching of the Synod Preparation Paper:
by Pope Benedict XVI at Yaounde, Cameroon: Report here…

SMA Presence at the 2009 Synod of Bishops:

Fr Kieran O’Reilly SMA, Superior General represented the Superiors General of Societies of Apostolic Life. Fr O’Reilly’s intervention is here…

Archbishop Michel Cartateguy SMA, Archbishop of Niamey, Niger