By Fr. Anthony Adetayo

The Holy See through the dicastery of the Evangelization of people organizes a formation seminar for newly appointed Bishops under The Propaganda Fidei between 5th and 17th of September 2022 at Pontificio Collegio San Paolo in Rome with a theme; the Synodal Church.

For two years it was difficult to organise the annual seminar because of the global lockdown and the enduring pandemic effect. Wth the ease and lifting of various traveling bans in recent times, it is imperative to consider and execute this formation seminar to help the new Bishops in proper administration of the people of God apportioned to them as pastors, teachers and leaders. They were about 200 Bishops in attendance from Africa Asia and Latin America.

It was testified that the seminar took a classroom setting where the Bishop delegates were taken through an understanding of the Roman Curia with specific dicasteries. Though a lot of Bishops came into the seminar with their peculiar experiences and were able to share among one another, the Holy See presented the direction of evangelization within the relevant global context in order to guide these young Bishops. That was done by a chronological and methodological review of the Church’s prominent documents focused on evangelization. In an interview granted by the Holy See correspondence to Most Rev. Francis Obafemi Adesina, Catholic Bishop of Ijebu-Ode Diocese, he relishes the renewal of his prayer life and friendship with other Bishops who were together with him in Rome formerly as students. He also emphasizes the resounding lesson he picked from the seminar that as a Bishop “you are not just a preacher but you teach, you’re not just a teacher, you have to be another Christ, a man of communion”. He says “how we can use the model of synodality to move the church forward in the light of evangelization is the expectation of the Church from all the Bishops”

The Bishop says we must consider the fundamental option for the poor and also never use the Religious as cheap labour. Bishop Adesina says “we are filled with zeal to return to our work but with the mind of Christ” 

At the completion of the seminar, there was an audience with the Roman Pontiff; Pope Francis, where he encourages the Bishops to be open to dialogue and be closer to the poor. The Pope accepted a beautiful artwork of the crucified Lord from them. In the private audience with the Bishops, the Pope tells them that they should note that everything is connected on the planet Earth and that they should always be prayerful, for a Bishop who distances himself from God withers away. He reiterates the importance of greater unity among Bishops and among their priests. He wants them to avoid protagonism for “evangelization must be carried out in the style of Jesus.”

It was obviously a rich experience for all the Bishops in attendance and it came to a prayerful end with the closing Mass.