Bishop Patrick Koroma's Intervention at the Synod of Bishops

«We Should not Overlook the Importance of an Integrated, Life-Centred Catechesis»

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 25, 2012 ( Here is the translation of the intervention delivered «In Scriptis» (in writing) to the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization by Bishop Patrick Daniel Koroma, Bishop of Kenema and President of the Episcopal Conference of Sierra Leone.

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The main purpose of this Synod, as stated in paragraph 7 of the Instrumentum Laboris, is to respond to the phenomenon of detachment from faith, especially in those countries “where, for centuries, the Christian faith has contributed to the unbuilding of culture and society” (Instrumentum Laboris, 7).

The phenomenon of detachment of faith also present in the much younger Churches like ours, Sierra Leone and the Gambia. This may be due to a number of reasons:- Lack of an integrated catechesis that establishes dialogue between the Christian Gospel and the faith response to it. For instance, for many of our faithful, tribal or ethnic affiliation and the solidarity it engenders are much stronger than their sense of belonging or loyalty to the Church (in virtue of baptism) and its hierarchy. This is the root of the embarrassing situations in some parts of Africa where priests appointed by the Holy Father as Bishops are rejected on the grounds that they are from another tribe/ethnic group or region

– The religious and cultural beliefs of the people evangelized.

– Little knowledge of the social teachings of the church to look up solely to Jesus Christ and his Gospel for guidance in their social life of politics and business and in times of crisis.

– Mixing African religious practices, superstition and the Church’s sacraments and sacramental. We did not look for solutions for this problem of detachment from the faith. But I suggest the following:

– We should not overlook the importance of an integrated, life-centred catechesis that takes into account the life situation, especially the religio-cultural experiences, of the people being evangelized or instructed in the Christian faith.

– Include peace, justice, reconciliation and good governance

Lastly we should give ample recognition to the role of the Holy Spirit in the dynamic of faith. The Holy Spirit should be given greater prominence in all our efforts towards new evangelization for the transmission of the Christian faith.

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