SCCS is True Experience of Sodality in Africa
BY REV FR JOACHIM OMOLO OUKO. AJ
Father Joe Healey’s passion for championing the growth of Small Christian Communities in AMECEA and beyond describes how Small Christian Communities (SCCS) is true experience of Synodality in Africa.
Born out of the call by AMECEA Bishops in 1976 when they said that systematic formation for the Small Christian Communities should be the key Pastoral priority in the years to come for the countries of AMECEA, Father Healey has become the spearhead of such experience. Synodality is a way of understanding relationships in the Church, communication dynamics, and participation in structures at all levels. It is a reconfiguration of the whole Church in its relationships, in its work dynamics, in its structures of participation. That is why synodality has been a reality as an ecclesial experience through the Small Christian Communities, experience of communion, community spirit, familyhood, teamwork, community sharing, and togetherness.
This is the true experience of synodality that has been lived out in the SCCs: experience of communion, participation and mission, evangelizing themselves and bringing the Good News to others.
Inclusiveness, unity and community values are basic to African life and the foundation of SCCs. In the African family, one is given recognition, acceptance and a sense of belonging. In it, one enjoys respect and understanding. It explains why as a young African Catholic, Synodality means an opportunity to engage the structures of the Church in a different way. One that takes into consideration lay persons and one that takes into consideration young people as well.
In his book: God or Nothing, Cardinal Sarah attempts to offer an important sacred perspective on worship, evangelization, catechesis, and discipleship on the line of synodality. Cardinal Sarah’s voice carries the unmistakable ring of a prophet. Sarah’s clear and bold comments about the need for a profound renewal in the Church are truly refreshing and encouraging.
Cardinal Robert Sarah was born in Guinea, West Africa (June 15, 1945). His homeland has 12 million people (85% Muslim). After independence from the French in 1958, the country was ruled by a communist dictator Sekou Toure who nationalized all the schools including the seminary where Sarah was studying. He was ordained in 1969. Under Paul VI he was selected in 1978 to be prepared to be the next bishop of the country since Archbishop Tchidimbo was imprisoned with no hope of release inside the country. Pope John Paul II consecrated Sarah Archbishop of Conakry diocese in 1979 and Tchidimbo was released and exiled.