Mongomo, Equatorial Guinea. The young missionaries of Padre Xifré Independent Delegation held this year’s Quinquennium from 26 to 29 December 2023 at the residence of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception of Mongomo, whose theme was “Young missionaries in a synodal church.” Fathers Antonio Nvó Nvó Bindang, Jacinto Bikoro Mifumu, Axel Joel Yolanda, Edelmiro Nena Panadés, Boris Jonathan Mbá Obame, Venancio Sapa Mbala, Pergentino Edjang Motu, CMFF, the Prefect of Formation of the Delegation, and Msgr. Juan Domingo Beka, CMF, Bishop of the Diocese of Mongomo, as their facilitator.
During the meeting, Monsignor Juan Domingo presented a summary report of the first phase of the Synodal Assembly. He participated in the assembly as the President of the Episcopal Conference of Equatorial Guinea. The bishop stated that synodality in the Church is not new, as the Church has always been linked to communion. The Second Vatican Council emphasized the Church’s unity as the people of God. However, the novelty of this assembly lies in how it has developed with the participation of people from various backgrounds and traditions. This has encouraged and reignited the spirit of communion that characterized the Second Vatican Council. Synodality has become a spirituality that promotes unity. In his letter, Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis advocates for a church that includes everyone and promotes a spirit of going forth. During the synod, Monsignor Juan Domingo noted that the Church encouraged the participation of the laity in its decisions and their sense of belonging. Synodality is about working together from a communion, participation, and mission perspective. The synod did not have a specific theme; it aimed to prioritize listening to the people and considering all that the people of God think and express. The issue of clericalism, which is causing significant harm to the Church and is present among both pastors and laity, was also addressed.
During the session on practical issues, Fr. Felix Obaga, CMF, Major Superior of the Delegation, led the discussion. He referred to documents such as the General Plan of Formation (Chapter 11), Being Priests Today by Gisbert Greshake, How not to Say Mass, and The Novice’s Manual, inviting the participants to approach this stage enthusiastically. He emphasized the importance of this stage, which can determine the future of their ministry. Fr. Felix encouraged the participants to share the joys and difficulties of their first years in priestly ministry. He also reminded them of the significance of planning activities, providing proper accompaniment in vocational promotion, adequately preparing liturgical celebrations, and fostering a sense of belonging and integration to the Congregation and Delegation.
The participants expressed gratitude to the Mother Congregation through the Padre Xifré Delegation, the Prefect of Formation, and the Bishop for the ongoing formation they received during this Quinquennium and pledged to live by it.
Source: Fr. Axel Joël Yolanda, CMF. Delegation Secretary of Padre Xifré.