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East Africa Province: Synodality is already in the church’s life

E eventThursday, 29 February 2024

In the Bible, the theme of light is all over. The light has always been a symbol of holiness, God’s presence, a sign of hope, awakening or goodness. We don’t see light; we surely see with light.

 Still in the Christmas spirit and New Year 2023 celebration, the Catholic Diocese of Mosh (Tanzania), was blessed with nine priests, two religious and seven Diocesan, who were ordained on 5th January 2023.  Christ the King Cathedral, was packed with people who came to witness, not only the families of the nine deacons (priests to be) but people from all works of life laity, religious, young and old, men, women, children and even non-Catholics. There were more than a hundred priests who gathered to celebrate their brothers joining in the common priesthood of Christ. It was a synodal Church.

When the deacons were called, they were seen coming from different pews, where they were seated with their parents. This was a witnessing moment that they  are called or chosen from the people to be consecrated for a particular service to the people, a minister in Christ’s name and that of the Church.

It was a great moment  of learning, knowing and understanding the importance of the rituals of ordination that were  clearly explained step by step and done in a prayerful and solemn way. The rituals were; calling of the candidate by name, a sign of answering the call freely, presentation and enquiry, acceptance, examination of the candidate, promises of obedience, chanting of the litany and laying of the hands.

Majority of the people were able to distinguish how we, the baptized are a priestly people and the Sacrament of Holy Orders complement this priesthood of all people. There was a moment of total silence during the laying of hands on the deacons, a time of transition of ordination to priesthood. A time of imparting the fullness of the Holy Spirit on them, a gesture of being set apart for a specific mission. A moment of silent prayer and witnessing the marvels that God does in the priestly calling.

Before the end of the ordination ceremony, the newly ordained priests gave their first blessing to the Bishop, then their parents and finally the whole congregation. The new priest were then given their mission letters. There were jubilant shouts of joy from the parishioners where the new priests were sent.  As they held the Easter Candle, the Bishop said, “ Go and be the light, preach the faith by word and example.” Labourers in the Lord’s vineyard are still needed not only in the parishes but as chaplains in hospitals, schools, prisons, for studies and to educate people on religious practices and meaning. This clearly shows the need to pray for  vocations to priesthood because the demands are  higher than the supply, especially now that less men are joining the priesthood than  in the past.

It was a great joy to have our  Katoliki Moshi Online TV officially inaugurated after a successful  trial of six months. A digital way of evangelizing that reaches more people at their own convenient time, is educational and connects people to various events without travelling. It is accessed on You Tube.

A comment from a friend was, “I now know and understand that prayer does not always need words, silence helps to reflect on the greatness of God. I was in touch with my inner self, calm and peaceful, my mind was quiet, silence is powerful. This is true to the call of Samuel, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening”, and NOT, listen Lord your servant is speaking”.

As the Religious of the Assumption, our Rule of Life on community Life, has similar terms, sentences or paragraphs which match with synodality way of life and pave a way for synodality in communities. These include, planning together, teamwork,discernment,fraternal correction, welcoming trinitarian love, building the community and celebrating life together. We can have synodal families, if we dare in gradual ways to listen to one another in order to hear what God is saying to all of us as the Holy Spirit can speak through anyone. This means, being the light to one another, thus helping to improve the lives of others.

By Moshi Town Community