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Second Biannual Pan-African Catholic Congress on Theology, Society and Pastoral Life

July 18 @ 8:00 am - July 23 @ 5:00 pm
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Organization Information

Mission Statement and Brief Organization Background

The Mission of the Pan-African Catholic Theology and Pastoral Network is to bridge the gap between pastoral practice and multi-disciplinary scholarly work on the African continent by collaboratively listening to both God and our people, inspiring hope and transformational faith, and promoting and curating best practices for the betterment of church and society.


The Pan-African Catholic Theology and Pastoral Network (PACTPAN) was borne out of the African Catholicism project which was launched in November 2015. It is currently housed at the Center for World Catholicism and Inter-Cultural Theology (CWCIT), DePaul University. It presently has a membership of 187 active members made up of African scholars from very diverse fields and frontline pastoral workers also engaged in a variety of different ministries.  Membership is open and drawn from Africans on the continent and in the diaspora.

The African Catholicism Project was an international collaborative effort with an overarching goal to expand the production and distribution of scholarly and pastoral resources by African Catholics. The African Catholicism project has the following objectives:

  • Foster collaboration among Catholic scholars working in Africa and between them and scholars working in the Northern hemisphere
  • Elevating African Catholic sisters through mentoring, finding educational scholarships and ministerial grants, promoting their scholarly contributions, and advocating for their inclusion in the church and larger society.
  • Support the work of African scholars teaching in under-resourced institutions in Africa
  • Encourage inter-disciplinary work among scholars studying African Catholicism
  • Produce written resources, both in print and online, serving both the scholarly community and the pastoral needs of the Catholic Church in Africa
  • Ensure the continuity of African scholarship through the mentoring of the next generation of African Catholic Scholars

Since its inception, the African Catholicism Project has offered a forum for African Catholic scholars to collaborate in producing and disseminating significant works for the church and society in Africa. The project has contributed to the formation of scholars in the African Church by bringing together generations of scholars, teachers, and pastoral workers, with an emphasis and commitment to streamlining women at all levels of our work, to create scholarly resources and make these resources broadly available for the use in both the academy and the ministry. CWCIT has facilitated three international collaboration/Palaver sessions between African bishops, and Catholic scholars who are based in Africa and those who reside within Western institutions of higher education and scholarship: Enugu, Nigeria (December 2015), Nairobi, Kenya (July 2017), Enugu, Nigeria (December 2019).

The Pan-African Catholic Theology and Pastoral Network grew out of this initiative and was officially launched after the last congress in Enugu, Nigeria held in December 2019. This network will serve as a permanent agency for interdisciplinary and collaborative research and advocacy for African Catholic scholars, pastoral leaders, church frontline, and grassroots workers from around the African continent. It undertakes ongoing academic conversations through webinars and seminars held online on a regular basis. It also will continue to convene a bi-annual congress on current issues in the church and the realities of lived Catholicism in Africa.

There are 20 members who constitute the leadership team (10 sisters, 1 lay woman, 8 priests, and 1 layman) of the network, who collaboratively research on topics and themes that guide our focus, based on how African Catholics live their faith in the complexities of our context and times. We also consider some of the themes or synodal conversations identified by SECAM, local bishops’ conferences, and the papal magisterium. We engage these issues with a multi-prong approach of case studies, problem-solving and best practices.

Apart from the bi-annual congress, we strive to develop a strong agency among ourselves and with our Church leaders and our everyday brothers and sisters through critical, creative, and transformative research and publications, as well as advocacy for meeting the needs of our times, addressing the cries of the earth, the poor, women in African and our hopes, pains and dream as we work for a new heaven and new earth brought about through works of our heads, hearts, and hands. We have a commitment to supporting women’s development through gender mainstreaming in all aspects of our work. The thematic areas the network is focusing on for the next 6 years are:

  • Synodality/Palaver
  • A Vital Church
  • Let the Little Children come to me (Protection of children)
  • Mary at the Foot of the Cross (Women)
  • Youth in the Church and Society

The network has grown in leaps and bounds in the past two years, establishing partnerships with several universities in Africa and beyond, creating a website, and launching a podcast amongst other things, all aimed at informing, educating and facilitating dialogue for African Catholics.


July 18 @ 8:00 am
July 23 @ 5:00 pm