The Pope has invited two senior Catholic Church clerics in Uganda, alongside 277 colleagues from around the world, to discuss the role of the family in aancing the church’s mission.
Gulu Diocese Archbishop John Baptist Odama, the head of the Uganda Episcopal Conference, and his deputy, Kiyinda-Mityana Diocese Bishop Joseph Anthony Zziwa, will represent the country at a three-week synod, which will run from October 4 to October 25 in the Vatican.
Thirteen women out of the 34 appointed auditors will also attend the synod but without voting rights.
The Vatican said in a statement that the 14th synod will focus on “the vocation and mission of the family in the church and the contemporary world.”
Rome released the full list of the synod participants on Tuesday, galvanising 279 invited bishops to mull over a touchy issue: family and pastoral work in a fast-changing and largely secular world.
Pope Francis, who has confirmed a visit to Uganda in November, has made evangelisation and the church’s pragmatic compassion with fringe populations, a cornerstone of his papacy.
As such, he plans to separately meet youth, catechists or frontline faith teachers, priests and other religious leaders during the November trip.
The synod is an annual sitting of bishops from all over the world, and this year’s conference is expected to be larger than the previous one. It comprises 279 bishops, prelates and priests.
Last year, the synod devised “appropriate pastoral guidelines” for care of the person and family. Archbishop Odama heads the committee preparing for the November visit. Kampala Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, in whose ecclesiastical province the Pope will be hosted, heads the Construction and Finance Committee, which oversee all the preparations in the run up to the event.
His committee is also charged with fundraising and refurbishment of both the Munyonyo and Namugongo Martyrs’ shrines, where the Holy Father will hold an open-air Mass.