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Synodal Church

Church in Bangladesh Holds Seminar on Synodality

A three-day seminar on Synodality was held at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of
Bangladesh (CBCB) Centre in Dhaka, June 27-29, for the Catholic Church of
The seminar on the theme “Synod on Synodality in the Church of Bangladesh” was
animated by Sister Nathalie Becquart, XMCJ, Under-Secretary for the Secretariat of
the Synod of the Vatican, and Father George Plathottam, SDB, Executive Secretary
of the FABC Office of Social Communication. The seminar is the third national level
event on Synodality organised by the FABC OSC in Asian countries, the previous
ones being in Cambodia and Nepal.
Participants included Cardinal Patrick D’ Rozario, former Archbishop of Dhaka,
Archbishop Bejoy N. D’Cruze of Dhaka and other bishops of Bangladesh and some
80 delegates, consisting of major superiors, priests and lay leaders from the eight
dioceses of the country.
The event organised by the FABC OSC in collaboration with the Secretariat of the
Catholic Bishops Conference of Bangladesh (CBCB) and the Office of Social
Communication (OSC), dealt with synodality as a new way of being church in Asia
and the challenges the church faces in its pastoral ministry and evangelisation. The
seminar studied at some depth the documents of FABC 50 called the Bangkok
Document, the Asian Continental Document on Synod and the Synthesis documentfrom the October 2023 session of the Synod in the Vatican.
Bishop Paul Ponen Kubi, Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of
Bangladesh, welcomed Sr Nathalie, Fr George and the participants to a fruitful study
and reflection on synodality in the context of Bangladesh. He spoke of synod as part
of the ancient tradition of the Church to discuss matters for the good of the people of
God in a fraternal way.
The participants listened to the story of the journey of the two disciples on the road to
Emmaus during which Jesus walked with them and spoke to them. This passage, Fr
George and Sr Nathlie said forms the essence of the synodal journey of walking
together with his disciples.
The seminar began with a Bible procession followed by Holy Mass presided over by
Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario. In his homily, the Cardinal said, Pope Francis, like a
prophet, has called for a synodal church to see things in a new way. We are called to
listen attentively to others. However, over time, many worldly thoughts and values
have entered the church, but we have to learn to listen to others, walk together and
accept each other as part of the synodal process.

Father George Plathottam, SDB, Executive Secretary of the FABC Office of Social
Communication, said, We are called to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit as we
embrace the synodal process, promoting mutual respect, cooperation, and walking
together with all. We can see a revolutionary change happening in the church
through this synod. Dialogue and mutual respect for each other’s culture are
essential, he added.
He also stressed the importance of recognising the potential of women, youth and
laity in the Asian Church. He highlighted the concerns of the Church in Asia for the
poor, the migrants, refugees, and displaced people. The church is called to be
inclusive, welcoming, extending hospitality, and ‘taking off shoes’ as part of the Asian
synodal journey in accordance with Asian culture.
Sister Nathalie Becquart, XMCJ, Under-Secretary for the Synod of the Vatican, said,
“Synodality is a dynamic vision of the church, revealed through the process of setting
ongoing goals. It is like the vision of the Trinity: that leads humanity to salvation, the
synodal church works to meet the needs of the age. The synod is a journey with
Jesus, just as he journeyed with his disciples on the road to Emmaus.
She spoke about the synodal process and its various stages of development and led
the participants through the process of conversation in the Spirit as a Synodal
method. Group sessions enabled members to have a practical experience of this
synodal process of listening to one another and through them to the voice of the Holy
Archbishop Bijoy N. D’Cruze shared his own personal experience of the Synod and
how the process of synodality was unfolding in the church in Bangladesh. He said,
the Christian community, though a minority, is living according to the teachings of
Christ, spreading his teachings, and offering Christian service in the multi-religious
and cultural context of Bangladesh. Just as Jesus Christ empathized with the
sufferings of others, we too must listen attentively to others, welcome and embrace
others with our hearts, he said.
The Archbishop also acknowledged that within the Catholic community in
Bangladesh, there are notable influences of power, money, factions, and intolerance,
similar to the prevailing negative political influences and values in the country. These
problems will be resolved if we can build an inclusive society in the light of Pope
Francis’ call for a synodal Church.
Pius Costa, a former additional secretary of the Government of Bangladesh,
expressed his feelings by saying, “My journey with brothers and sisters of other
faiths requires maintaining synodality with them. I tell others that we are all servants
of the Creator. Likewise, I work as your servant. I assure you that the experiences
from this seminar will be reflected in my professional life.”
Sister Lori from the Congregation of the Daughters of Jesus, who participated in the
seminar, said, “The Holy Spirit guides and empowers us. Therefore, establishing synodality in the light of the Church in Bangladesh requires the companionship of the
Holy Spirit.”Mrs. Rita Rosario, who participated in the event, said, “The synod and synodality are a new awakening for our Church. The Holy Father is opening a new door for us through this process, allowing us to approach each other and listen attentively.”
Archbishop Kevin Randall, the Vatican ambassador to Bangladesh, celebrated the
concluding Eucharistic celebration. In his message, he said, “The Holy Father, Pope
Francis, has taken a step to create a beautiful connection among everyone in our
Church, helping us develop a good heart for listening to others.”
Miss Dola Baroi expressed her feelings saying, “Synodality is a gateway to new
possibilities and a place of hope that will strengthen the contribution of our youth in
the Church.”

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