Diocesan Synod

Introduction to the synod

Diocesan Synod

This is an assembly of the clergy and sometimes also the laity in a diocese to decide over the doctrines concerning the church at large (The Diocese) and it is presided over by the Bishop. Its purpose is to assist the Bishop in the exercise of the office proper to him, namely that of governing the flock entrusted to him. The diocesan synod is a very important organ of the diocese in which the Bishop, with the assistance and counsel of various structures of the diocesan community, solemnly exercises within it the office and ministry of caring for his flock, adopting the rules of the Universal Church to the particular situation of the diocese. His Lordship Rt. Rev. Joseph proposed a Diocesan synod for the Kakamega Diocese that would make all the church stakeholders to come together and contribute towards the direction of the Diocese in the mission of evangelization.

The Theme of the Diocesan Synod

Our Diocese, Our Faith, Our Responsibility… “Throw into the deep water and pay out your nets for a catch.” (LK. 5:4)
Our Diocese

A Diocese is a section of the people of God entrusted to a Bishop to be guided by him with the assistance of his clergy, so that loyal to its pastor and formed by him into one community in the Holy Spirit through the gospel and the Eucharist, it constitutes the particular church in which the one, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ is truly present and active. (Christus Dominus no. 11). A mention by passing of a parish as a portion of the Diocese whose care is entrusted to the Parish Priest under the authority of the Bishop will be extremely important. This is where we are born into the life of the Church and nourished. We also talk about the small Christian community properly connected to the parish as a local incarnation of the one Holy catholic and apostolic church. This is a dream and vision of the Church according to the AMECEA Fathers.

Our Faith

Faith is simply the strong belief in the doctrines of a religion based in the doctrines of religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof. The Catholic faith in our diocese as enshrined in the Church’s teaching was brought by the Mill Hill Missionaries as our pioneer evangelizers of the Catholic Diocese of Kakamega. This Faith has been lived and passed on by our forefathers in faith for over 100yrs and now 40yrs as a diocese. This time of the Synod is a real moment of grace to reflect on our faith, look into the past, the present and propose ways to renew our pastoral strategies as we chart our way forward in the work of evangelization.

Our Responsibility

We are liable for the diocese daily evangelization mission. We are not only obliged to be part of this Synodal process but also walk together in implementing the fruits of this process. The wise words of Blessed Pope Paul VI-in his Kampala address on 31/7/1969 in his missionary visit of the African continent come into play. The Church in Africa must be truly catholic and genuinely African. Secondly; African Continent must be missionaries unto herself i.e we must be self-ministering, self-sustaining and self-propagating. All of us must be involved; clergy, religious men and women, apostolic movements, youths etc.

’’Throw into the deep water and pay out your nets for a catch....’’ Luke. 5:4

It is a scriptural text to support the theme of our Synod.

A fisherman is a very patient man. He braves the scorching sun patiently waiting to hook out the fish from the waters. With bait on the hook to attract the fish, he patiently waits for a catch. Some fishermen risk at night with their nets for a catch. I admire the patience of a fisherman with all the risks of attack by aquatic dangerous animals, the loneliness in the waters at night and above all the hope that all is well.

Christ transforms us from being fishers of fish to fishers of men. Faith has been lived in the Diocese for forty years with great success. The synod will prepare all of us to deepen and intensify our pastoral approaches for greater yields. This will only be possible if we allow Christ the owner of the mission to guide and direct our steps. With all our professionalism without Christ our toils will yield nothing. Allowing Christ to direct the mission of the Church and doubling our evangelizing efforts, we yield fruits in abundance. This is achievable if we are all united and guided by the Bishop as the Chief Fisher of men in the Diocese in a collaborative way.

The synod logo.

Meaning of the Logo;

DUC IN ALTUM: means to draw into the deep.

THE CROSS: symbolizes victory. The victory of the cross, through the Christ we shall conquer.

THE ROPES ANCHORING THE MAST OF THE BOAT TO THE CROSS: as a diocess to move forward we must support one another, hold together and hold firm to the faith we have received.

THE FISHERMEN IN THE BOAT: all the christs faithful in the Diocese; the Bishop, Priests, Brothers, Sisters, and the Laity, all being sent, having a purpose to carry the mission of Christ. THE BOAT: the symbol of the church, our diocese where we all gathered for a mission.

THE WATER: represents the world where Jesus is sending us to fish, the people from, bring them to the true light of Christ.

THE NET: our tool, our preparedness, our commitment to take up the mission of Christ entrusted to all of us in the BOAT.

THE FISH: the fruits of our work, the results of obeying Christ voice.



Topics being discussed in the synod are:

  1. Evangelization.
  2. Faith and Doctrines.
  3. Catechesis.
  4. Inter-religious dialogue and ecumenism.
  5. Promotion of vocations.
  6. Governance.
  7. Missionary consciousness.
  8. Intergral development and Human Promotion.
  9. Self-Reliance.
  10. Pastrol responsibility of the Clergy and religious.
  11. The Role of the Laity- youth Ministry, Family apostolate, Associations and movements, Catholic education and schools, role of catechists, Biblical Apostolate, training and on-going formation.
  12. Pastrol and spiritual formation.
  13. Ecclesial collaboration and solidarity.
  14. Small Christian communities.
  15. Liturgy and discipline of sacraments.
  16. Any relevant topics proposed.

The personnels in preparing the Diocesan Synod are:

  1. Very Rev. Fr. Kizito Sabatia Handa.
  2. Rev. Fr. Vincent Mukhokho.
  3. Rev. Fr. Maurice Kigame.
  4. Rev. Fr. Charles Simbe.
  5. Rev. Fr. Kizito Muchanga.
  6. Rev. Fr. Vincent Lumumba.
  7. Rev. Fr. Benedict Muchenditsi.
  8. Rev. Fr. Gordon Okoth IMC.
  9. Rev. Fr. Anthony Ndondolo.
  10. Rev. Fr. Humphrey Mkokha CM.
  11. Rev. Fr. Boniface Mmbwanga.
  12. Rev. Fr. Maurice Erambo.
  13. Rev. Fr. Boniface Silayo.
  14. Rev. Fr. Jacob Wafula.
  15. Sr. Lydia Mukari.
  16. Sr. Dorice Wanjala.
  17. Sr. Jackline Nateminya.
  18. Very Rev. Fr. Ferdinand Lugonzo - Co-opted resource person.
  19. Very Rev. Fr. Patrick Nyongesa - Co-opted resource person.
  20. Rev. Fr. Bonaventure Luchidio - Co-opted resource person.


The activities that were put in place for the synod were:

DATE ACTIVITIES
12/01/2019 Convocation at St. Joseph’s Catholic.
26/01/2019

1st Consultative Meeting for all the clergy at Bishop Stam.

8/02/2019

2nd Consultative Meeting Eregi Deanery.

9/02/2019

3rd consultative Meeting Kakamega Deanery.

15/02/2019

4th consultative meeting Mukumu Deanery.

16/02/2019

5th consultative meeting Eregi Deanery.

9/03/2019.

6th consultative meeting Mumias Deanery.

23/03/2019

The institution of the diocese top management of our institution.

28/04/2019- 4/05/2019

Institution stage.

29/06/2019.

Synod declaration and decrees to be given in St. Peters Minor seminary – Mukumu.

 

The consultative meetings on the Diocesan Synod are on-going and some Deaneries have been visted, amomg in the list are Mukumu, Eregi, and Kakamega Deanery respectively. During the consultative meetings, Clergy/religious and laity attends and takes active participation. One of the synod topic that is getting most active sharing and participation is the role of the laity. As per the canon law, lay persons are designated by God for the apostolate through baptism and confirmation, they are bound to work so that the divine message of salvation is made known and accepted by all persons in the world. Laity means all the faithful except those in the Holy orders and those in the state of religious life especially approved by the church. Those faithful are by baptism made one body with Christ and are constituted among the people of God. They are in their own way made sharers in the priestly, prophetical and kingly functions of Christ; and they carry out for their own part the mission of the whole Christian people in the church and in the world. The laity by their very vocation seeks the kingdom of God by ordering them according to the plan of God. Every lay person by virtue of the very gifts bestowed upon them is at the same time a witness and living instrument of the mission of the church itself.

The following concerns about the Laity are being raised in the consultative meetings;

  • Effective active participation of the Laity in the Church.
  • How fully are the Laity being engaged in the Parish activities?
  • How many of the Laity are freely willing to be involved in the Parish activities.
  • The sacramental disposition of the laity in the in Christian life
  • The willingness of the laity to support the church per their professional expertise.
  • The willingness of the Priests to engage the Laity in their professional expertise in support of the church.
  • Awareness of the Laity of their role as Laity in the Church.
  • Lay formation before undertaking their various responsibilities in the church.
  • Mutual respect and relationship between the laity and the Clergy.

 

QUESTIONS BEING STUDIED DURING CONSULTATIVE MEETINGS.

 

GROUP ONE

  1. FAITH AND DOCTRINE

•What are the ways and channels (programs) through which faith and doctrine are impart to the Christ’s faithful in the diocese?

•What are the gaps in these channels and ways?

•Do we have glaring cultural issues that stand on the way of faith and doctrine in the diocese?

•Do we have the materials to impart faith and doctrine? If there are, how much are we doing about the translations?

 

  1. CATECHESIS

•How is catechesis carried out in our diocese (keep in mind the different categories of people to be catechized)?

•Can we identify areas that need improvement in relation to catechesis?

GROUP TWO

  1. EVANGELIZATION AND INCULTURATION.

•What are the socio-cultural (traditional) challenges to the work of evangelization in our diocese? What are the possible ways to address the challenges?

  1. INTER-RELIGIOUS DIALOGUE AND ECUMENISM.

•What is the relationship between the Catholic Church and other denominations?

•What are the best possible ways of promoting interreligious dialogue and ecumenism?

  1. SMALL CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES.

•Show an appreciation of the Small Christian Communities in the diocese.

•According to your analysis, are the Small Christian Communities serving their purpose?

•How do we make the young people part of the Small Christian Communities?

•How could we make families to participate fully in the life of the Small Christian communities?

 

GROUP THREE

  1. PASTORAL AND SPIRITUAL FORMATION.

•What are the challenges the diocese is facing in her duty of pastoral and spiritual formation?

•How can the diocese improve her pastoral care for children, youth, families, the aged, the vulnerable, the sick, and the old?

  1. THE ROLE OF THE LAITY.

•Show an appreciation of the participation of the laity in the life of the diocese.What can be improved?

•In what ways could they be helped to better their participation?

 

GROUP FOUR

  1. PASTORAL RESPONSIBILITY, IDENTITY, WELFARE AND DISCIPLINE OF THE CLERGY AND RELIGIOUS .

•Show an appreciation of the work of the clergy and the religious in the diocese.

•Suggest ways in which the pastoral responsibilities of the clergy and religious can be improved and strengthened.

•How can the relationship and collaboration between the clergy and the religious, and the religious communities be strengthened.

  1. ECCLESIAL COLLABORATION AND SOLIDARITY.

• What are the structures of collaboration and solidarity within the diocese (between parishes, groups and committees within the parishes, between religious communities, and the clergy)?

• Could we suggest ways of enhancing these collaborations and solidarity?

 

GROUP FIVE

  1. INTEGRAL DEVELOPMENT AND HUMAN PROMOTION.

•Suggest ways within which the diocese can carry out her integral human development programs.

•What are the priority areas of integral development and human promotion?

•What suggestions would we offer to develop the spirituality of Caritas in the diocese?

•How can our institutions of learning and schools help in integral development of the human person?

 

  1. SELF-RELIANCE.

•Show an appreciation of efforts being done at the diocese towards self-reliance.

•How can we better these efforts? How can we extend these to the parishes?

 

  1. GOVERNANCE.

•Which ways do we suggest in strengthening the roles of the organizational structures of governance in the diocese (the Curia and other administrative offices)

•How should parish and other institutional administrations be improved (the Parish Priest and the Curates, the Priests and the consultative committees, parish programs)?

•Suggests ways of participation of the laity in the consultative bodies in the parish and at the diocese.

•What would constitute:

  1. administration
  1. of major importance
  2. of extraordinary administration
  3.  
  1. of temporal goods

And what would be the principles governing all these acts?

 

GROUP SIX

  1. MISSIONARY CONSCIOUSNESS.

•How can the diocese foster missionary consciousness among her people and support missionary activities of our sons and daughters who serve outside the diocese? (Mission ad extra)

•Identify the threats to the missionary work in the diocese and the measures the diocese can put in place to handle them. How do we renew the missionary work within the diocese? (Missio ad intra)

  1. PROMOTION OF VOCATIONS.

•In which way should the diocesan community promote Christian vocations (family life, Religious Life, Priesthood etc)

•Suggest ways for the recruitment, retention and formation for these vocations.

•Suggest ways of the formation of seminarians when outside the seminary.

 

GROUP SEVEN

  1. LITURGY AND DISCIPLINE OF SACRAMENTS.

•Mass: how can we promote dignified celebration of mass in the diocese (e.g. the church itself, sacristy, vessels, vestments, linens, books, devotions during mass, reception of communion, liturgical dances, use of electronics, vernacular languages, collections, place and role of each person during mass, funeral masses)?

•How do we encourage the Christ’s faithful to participate in the other sacraments especially Matrimony, Anointing of the Sick and Penance?

•How should the Sacramentals be handled (e.g. oils, rosaries, holy water)

 

GROUP EIGHT

  1. SOCIAL COMMUNICATION.

•Show an appreciation of the means of social communication in Evangelization in our Diocese.

•What are the gaps?

•Suggest ways of improving the use of social Communication