Oceania and African delegates at Synod want their voices heard

Oceania and African

Oceania and African delegates attending the Synod on Synodality have expressed their readiness to make their voices heard by the universal Church.

The delegates emphasise that their communities already practise synodality and want to share their unique perspectives.

Grace Wrakia, a representative of the Bishops’ Conference of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, expressed her gratitude for the invitation extended to these two small countries by the Church and Pope Francis.

Wrakia (pictured) stated “For many years, we have been listening and now we would like to speak. And we would like you to listen.”

Archbishop Andrew Nkea Fuanya of Bamenda, Cameroon, echoed this sentiment. He emphasised that the Synod on Synodality is a significant opportunity for Africa to have its voice heard.

Synodalilty a way of life

Both Oceania and African delegates highlighted that in their cultures synodality is already a way of life.

Ms Wrakia explained that in Melanesian spirituality, relationships are built around sharing common ideas, not ethnicity or appearance.

The Bishops’ Conference of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, with 23 dioceses and a population of 8 million, 25% of whom are Catholic, faces the challenge of diversity with over 1,000 tribes and more than 800 languages.

Wrakia underlined the importance of everyone having a say in decision-making, reflecting the communal nature of synodality in their region.

Archbishop Fuanya added that their culture encourages consultation and collective decision-making within families and communities.

Impact of colonialism

Wrakia acknowledged the evolution of evangelisation methods from the early years of Christian missions to what is now known as “new evangelisation”.

Today there is a greater understanding and respect for local cultures, emphasising the importance of listening to Indigenous peoples.

During synod discussions there was a particular focus on interreligious and intercultural dialogue.

Sheila Leocádia Pires, a communications official, emphasised the importance of strengthening dialogue with Indigenous communities and addressing the impact of colonialism.


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