To you, the dear people of God in Africa and Europe, grace and peace, from us, the Bishops of the SECAM and CCEE delegations, gathered in Nairobi, Kenya, for our Seminar entitled “Synodality: Africa and Europe Walking Together”.
We acknowledge the profound changes and escalating instability in our world, including conflicts in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Throughout these regions we also witness increasing violence against Christians and misery caused by global injustice and bad governance. In the midst of these alarming challenges, our faith in the resurrected Lord remains unshaken. Christ is the one who brings us peace and hope, providing a beacon of light and certainty amidst the turmoil and uncertainty that characterize our times.
We acknowledge the profound significance of the transformation of the Roman Curia and the entire Church as outlined in the Apostolic Constitution “Praedicate Evangelium”. This transformative reform, guided by Pope Francis, seeks to align the Church with the challenges of the 21st century. This instrument of the Holy Fathers’ apostolate emphasizes a missionary conversion, fostering an ecclesiology of communion, and notably, incorporates the participation of the lay people, especially women, in Church governance. This reform advocates for decentralization, enhanced collaboration with bishops, and addresses the diverse cultural and pastoral needs, especially pertinent to Africa. This paradigm shift marks a new era for the Curia, focusing on service and embodying the vision of a synodal Church, rooted in communion, participation, and mission.
Reflecting on the first session of the Synod in Rome, we embrace both European and African perspectives: Europe’s diverse ecclesial identity fosters a deep listening and discerning church journey, highlighting transparency and dialogue while Africa’s specific cultural and societal aspects emphasize communal values and inclusivity.
As we eagerly anticipate the second session of the Synod, we affirm our commitment to deepening our relationship and to implementing concrete actions that reflect our unity in Christ. We propose a healthy, missionary, and pastoral exchange between the conferences of Europe and Africa. We aim to integrate African values such as community-mindedness and family into parish life, and advocate for a healthy priest exchange program between our continents. Our collaboration will extend to formation and communitarian discernment, conducted in a spirit of humility and mutual respect between our churches. In this shared journey of faith, we recognize ourselves as learners, with both clergy and laity walking together in proclaiming Christ to the world.
In our collective journey, we endeavor to be particularly attentive to the voices and contributions of our young people in a world increased digitalization. Recognizing their unique perspectives and energy, we affirm the need for their active involvement in the life and mission of the Church. By listening attentively to their experiences and insights, whilst guiding them in the faith, we commit to a deeper understanding and response to their needs.
As we stand at a pivotal moment in our world, we, the bishops of Africa and Europe, unite in the call to cultivate a culture of fraternity. In this spirit, we endeavor to create a more harmonious and prosperous future. Together, we commit to this journey, building bridges that not only connect our continents, but which also nurture the growth and flourishing of our diverse communities in faith and love.
May God bless our joint efforts as we walk together in synodality, uniting Africa and Europe in faith, hope, and love.
Nairobi, January 25, 2024
H.E. Msgr. Gintaras Grušas, Archbishop of Vilnius, CCEE President
H.E. Msgr. Ladislav Nemet SVD, Archbishop of Belgrade, CCEE Vice-President
H.Em. Card. Jean-Claude Hollerich SJ, Archbishop of Luxembourg, CCEE Vice-President
H.E. Msgr. Virgil Bercea, Bishop of Oradea Mare
H.E. Msgr. Everard J. De Jong, Auxiliary Bishop of Roermond
H.E. Msgr. Alexandre Joly, Bishop of Troyes
H.E. Msgr. Francesco Savino, Archbishop of Cassano all’Jonio
H.E. Msgr. Józef Szamocki, Archbishop of Toruń
H.E. Msgr. David Tencer, Archbishop of Reykjavik
H.Em. Card. Fridolin Ambongo, Archbishop of Kinshasa, SECAM President
H.E. Msgr. Stephen Dami Mamza, Bishop of Yola, SECAM Vice-President
H.E. Msgr. Gabriel Edoe Kumordji SVD, Bishop of Keta-Akatsi
H.E. Msgr. Joseph Kwaku Afrifah-Agyekum, Bishop of Koforidua
H.E. Msgr. Jose Moko PSS, Bishop of Idiofa
H.E. Msgr., Nestor Désiré SMA, Bishop of Bossangoa
H.E. Msgr. Benjamin March Ramaroson, Archbishop of Antsiranana
H.E. Msgr. Williem Christiaans, Bishop of Keetmanshoop
H.E. Msgr. Emmanuel Adetoyeses Badejo, Bishop of Oyo
H.E. Msgr. Mfumbusa Bernadin Francis, Bishop of Kondoa
H.E. Msgr. Mathieu Madega, Bishop of Mouila