By Cosmas Omegoh, Lagos
The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev Alfred Adewale Martins, at an inaugural Mass on October 17, declared open the Diocesan Phase of the 2023 Synod of Bishops as convoked by Pope Francis.
An archdiocesan team has been set up to coordinate the activities of the Diocesan Phase of the pre-synodal exercise.
The members of the team are: Very Rev. Fr. Marcellinus Teko (Chairman), Rev. Fr. Victor Okhiria (Assistant Chairman), Fr. Paschal Aggrey, Rev. Fr. Panachy Ogbede and Rev. Fr. Theodore Martinose (Diocesan Priests), Rev. Fr. Paul Akin-Otiko OP (Male Religious) and Sr. Agnes Adepoju OLA (Female Religious). Other are Barrister Stanley Egware (Laity Male), Architect Regina Okorigba (Laity Female), Barrister (Sir) Damian Udeh (LACMON), Dame Felicia Okoli (CWONLA), Mr. Martin Enahoro (CYAA), Mr Derrick Obidiegwu (CYON), Mr. Anthony Agbugba (Communications) and Mr. Anthony Eyo (IT).
The archbishop in his previous circulars addressed to the priests, religious and lay faithful of the archdiocese, urged the people of God to hearken to the invitation of the pope to reflect on the theme “For a synodal church: Communion, participation and Mission.”
According to him, “this exercise is decisive for the life and mission of the Church. A synodal church, in announcing the gospel, “journeys together,” scrutinises the signs of the times and interprets them in the light of the gospel.”
The whole essence of the synod is encapsulated in this admonition of the archbishop: “Everyone – the bishop, clergy, religious and the lay faithful – is called to participate actively. In discerning what the Spirit is saying to the church, the whole community of Lagos Archdiocese shall pray, listen, analyse, dialogue, share experiences, discern and offer advice on making pastoral decisions which corresponds as closely as possible to God’s will.”
And to achieve this goal, seminars and sensitisation sessions have been lined up for priests, religious and the lay faithful commencing from this December to equip them with better understanding of the Church’s expectation.
There will be pre-synodal sessions held at deanery and parish levels. Every deanery shall have three facilitators (priest, religious and lay faithful), to be appointed by the dean, who will help co-ordinate the pre-synodal sessions at parish and deanery levels and prepare reports for the archdiocesan synodal team.
Efforts are equally being made to engage Christians of other denominations, people of other religious faith, the poor, the marginalised and the voiceless as requested by Pope Francis.
The feedback received from all these gatherings will be compiled in an overall synthesis at the archdiocesan level, which will be transmitted to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria as the contributions from the Church in Lagos to the journey of the whole people of God.