(Vatican Radio) Amongst the bishops participating in the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family is Bishop Joseph Antony Zziwa of Kiyinda-Mitayana and Vice President of the Ugandan Episcopal Conference.
He tells Vatican Radio’s Linda Bordoni how the Church in Uganda prepared for the Synod focusing carefully on its theme and of how he hopes the final document will reflect that theme of vocation and mission of the family in contemporary society.
Listen to the interview :
Bishop Zziwa says this is the third Ordinary Synod he has attended since becoming a bishop, and as for every Synod his Church and his country were involved in a long time of preparation beforehand.
“We receive the lineamenta – the questionnaires – from Rome, and as a Country and as a Bishops’ Conference, we send those questions to the dioceses, and they send them to the grass roots to be able to answer the questions. Then those questionnaires are sent back to the Secretariat and the bishops compile the answers and send them back to Rome. After which the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops writes the “instrumentum laboris: the working document”.
Bishop Zziwa points out that the theme – or title – of this Synod on the Family is “The vocation and the mission of the family in the church and in the contemporary world”.
He says preparations focused on this theme and all the deliberations of the Ugandan bishops have been in answer to the theme, and he points out that just like in any other vocation, family and marriage are a rich vocation indeed.
“We look at the richness of family in Africa. Beginning with the social point of view, the traditional point of view – there is a lot of richness” which is impossible to measure he says.
“We look at the Catholic family, we begin from the Scriptures, we look at the teachings of the Church and how we have lived this in Uganda” he says.
And both here in Rome and back home before the Synod began, Bishop Zziwa highlights how the Ugandan bishops have placed much emphasis the richness and the joy of the family.
And as time goes on, he says, “we also look at some of the challenges, issues or problems”.
“That has been our approach, it has stayed the same, and as we conclude, that has been our vision at the Synod” he says.
Bishop Zziwa points out that the Synod has been a concerted body in the Church since 1965 during which bishops meet, discuss and offer propositions that are ultimately handed over to the Pope.
He recalls previous Synods and of how the Apostolic Exhortation written by Pope Benedict XVI, “Africae Munus”, after the Synod for Africa has become a kind of a “Magna Carta” for the Church in our times and of how it continues to be appreciated by many African Catholics.
And returning to the theme of ‘vocation’, Bishop Zziwa recalls how he personally began his own vocation as a priest with great joy and of how he was accompanied and helped by his formators to keep the joy in his vocation.
Marriage too is a vocation he says, and so we must see how we can accompany married couples in their vocation.
They will inevitably encounter problems and challenges, Bishop Zziwa points out, but “they must begin from the joys and the goodness of a vocation”.
(from Vatican Radio)…