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The churches of Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei will 'walk together'

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On Oct. 17, the Catholic churches of Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei will begin a much-anticipated synodal process, a week after Pope Francis launched a two-year global dialogue leading to the Synod of Bishops on Synodality in Rome.

In October 2023, the synod will be held in a decentralised format for the first time.
It will be held in three phases — diocesan, continental, and universal — not just at the Vatican but also in every church on five continents.

"For a synodal church: communion, participation, and mission" is the topic for the Synod of Bishops.


According to Catholic Sabah, the official publication of the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia, representatives of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei (CBCMSB) had an online meeting with top officials of the Vatican's Synod of Bishops last month as part of the preparations.

On September 17, CBCMSB president Bishop Sebastian Francis of Penang, Malaysia, and executive secretary Charles Bertille met electronically with Sister Nathalie Becquart, a French nun and undersecretary of the Vatican's Synod of Bishops, as well as members of the Synod Secretariat.


Sister Becquart emphasised three key words from the synod's theme — communion, participation, and mission — during the meeting, which was one of a series with regional and continental bishops' conferences. She asked church leaders to be open to taking on the challenge of addressing them in their countries.


"Synodality expresses the nature of the Church," the nun stated, quoting the pope, adding "We must study synodality."

According to her, the synod is "a process, not an event" that necessitates the Church's synodal reform.

She explained that the word "synod" means "walking together" and contains everything we need to know.

The prepared paperwork as well as the Vademecum (handbook) have been made public, according to Sister Becquart.

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