ATC: Conference Schedule

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African Christian Theology:
Memories and Mission for the 21st Century


Recalling African theology’s origins,
envisioning its 21st century mission

March 22-25, 2017
Notre Dame Global Gateway
Via Ostilia, 15
Rome, Italy

Registration has ended, but you are invited to attend the sessions.

If you would like to attend the sessions, please send a courtesy email to:


Conference Schedule (also available as a PDF)

Speaker biographies available here.




7.30am:    Mass


9.00:    Opening Prayer, Remarks & Introductions: Francis Cardinal Arinze, Fr. Paulinus Odozor, CSSp, and J. Matthew Ashley

Session 1: African Theology: Past, Present and Future

9.10-9.15:    Session Chair: J. Matthew Ashley (University of Notre Dame)

9.15-9.45:    Fr. Bede Ukwuije, CSSp (Spiritan Generalate): “African Catholic Theology, Then and Now: Issues, Challenges and Ongoing Concerns”

9.45-10.15:    M. Shawn Copeland (Boston College): “African Theology in the Diaspora: Its Contributions to Catholic & Christian Theology”

10.15-10.30:    Discussion

10.30-11.00:    Break

Session 2: African Theology:  Foundations, Memories and Contributions

11.00:    Session Chair: Ryan Madison (University of Notre Dame)

11.05-11.25:     Bishop Tharcisse Tshibangu (Emeritus of Mbuji-Mayi): “Memories of the Emergence and Evolution of Theology in the Modern African Church”

11.25-11.45:    Fr. James C. Okoye, CSSp (Duquesne University): “Scriptural Memories of the Church in Africa: A Historical/Theological Journey into the Scriptural Revolution in Recent African Christianity”

11.45-12.00:    Discussion

12.00-2.00pm:    Lunch


Session 3: Scripture in the African Church

2.00:    Session Chair: Fr. John Fogarty, CSSp (Spiritan Generalate)

2.05-2.25:     Fr. Paulin Poucouta (Catholic University of Central Africa): “Reading the Bible in African Contexts: Theologies of Scriptural Interpretation in Africa”

2.25-2.45:     Sr. Jerome Obiorah (University of Nigeria Nsukka): “Scriptural Formation in the African Churches: How Can the African Church Ensure a Truly Well Versed People of the Book?”

2.45-3.05:     Sr. Josée Ngalula (Saint Eugène de Mazenod Institute): “Scripture, Preaching and Catechesis in African Catholicism”

3.05-3.20:     Discussion

3.20-3.45:    Break

Session 4:  African Theology: The Question of God

3.45:    Session Chair: Dianne Pinderhughes (University of Notre Dame)

3.50-4.10:     Fr. Charles Nyamiti (Catholic University of Eastern Africa): “Christological Memories of the Church in Africa: The Question of God in African Theology”

4.10-4.30:    Fr. Bonaventure Ugwu, CSSp (Spiritan International School of Theology): “The Holy Spirit in Current African Theology and Pastoral Practice: An Evaluation and a Critique"

4.30-4.55:    Fr. John Egbulefu, CCE (Pontifical Urban University): “A New Understanding and Application of The Trinity and The Incarnate Word by African Christians of Today”

4.55-5.10:     Discussion

5.10:    Conference Adjourns for the Day

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7.30am:    Mass


Session 5: Dogmatic Concerns in African Christianity

9.00am:    Session Chair: Sr. Veronica Openibo, SHCJ (Society of the Holy Child Jesus Generalate)

9.05- 9.25am:    Fr. Leonard Santedi Kinkupu (Catholic University of Congo): “Some Pressing Dogmatic Questions for African Theology Today”

9.25-9.45:    Archbishop Berthelemy Adoukonou (Pontifical Council for Culture): “The Anthropological Question in African Theology Today”

9.45-10.00:    Discussion

10.00-10.30:    Break

Session 6: Pastoral Questions in the African Church

10.30:    Session Chair: Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah (Diocese of Sokoto, Nigeria)

10.40-11.10:    John Cardinal Onaiyekan (Archdiocese of Abuja, Nigeria): “Ten Pressing Pastoral Issues in the African Church, As I See Them”

11.10-11.40:    Laurent Cardinal Monsengwo (Archdiocese of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo): “Pastors as Public Theologians: Faith, Politics, and Justice in the African Church”

11.40-12.10:    Archbishop Buti Thlagale, OMI (Archdiocese of Johannesburg, South Africa): “What We Have Learned and What We Are Faced With: The Catholic Church in a Post-Apartheid South Africa”

12.10-12.25:     Discussion

12.25-2.00:    Break/Lunch


Session 7: Liturgy and Liturgical Theology in the African Church

2.00:    Session Chair: Fr. Louis Lougen, OMI (Oblate Generalate)

2.05-2.30:    Fr. Elochukwu Uzukwu, CSSp (Duquesne University): “Liturgical Memories of Inculturation in the Church in Africa”

2.30-2.50:     Fr. Francois Kabasele (Democritus University of Thrace): “Towards an African Sacramental Theology”

2.50-3.05:    Discussion

3.05-3.30:    Break

Session 8: Moral Theology: the Question of Values in the African Church

3.30:    Session Chair: Nwando Achebe (Michigan State University)

3.35-4.05:    Fr. Laurenti Magesa (Cathollic University of East Africa/Hekima College): “Ethical Memories of the Church in Africa: Moral Concerns and Inculturated Christian Response”

4.05-4.25:    David Clairmont (University of Notre Dame): “Religious Diversity and Christian Spirituality: Comparative Religious Ethics for a Global Church”

4.25-4.45:     Fr. Stan Chu Ilo (DePaul University): “Cultural Diversity and Theological Education in the African Church”

4.45-5.00:     Discussion

5.00:    Conference Adjourns for the Day

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7.30am:    Mass


Session 9: The Church as Evangelizing Agent in Africa

9.00am:    Session Chair: John Cavadini (University of Notre Dame)

9.05-9.25:     Fr. Luke Ijezie (Catholic Institute of West Africa): “Biblical Fundamentalism and Its Influence on Contemporary African Theology”

9.25-9.45:    Obiageli Nzenwa (Independent Human Resources Consultant, Abuja): “Fueling Our Faith and Reclaiming Our Faithful”

9.45-10.05:    J. Matthew Ashley (University of Notre Dame): "The Ignatian Influence on the Spirituality of Pope Francis and its Relevance to Leadership Style in the Global Church"

10.05-10.30:     Discussion

10.30-11.00:     Break

Session 10: Family and Faith in Africa

11.00:    Session Chair: Archbishop Buti Thlagale (Archdiocese of Johannesburg, South Africa)

11.05-11.35:     Nontando Hadebe (St. Augustine College, South Africa): “Memories of Women, Gender, and Theology in the African Church”

11.35-11.55:    Aïcha Kola (School of Theology for Laymen, Douala): “The Church and the African Family Today”

11:55-12.15:     Fr. Paulinus Odozor, CSSp (University of Notre Dame): “Amoris Laetitia: The Youth and the Question of Reception”

12.15-12.30:    Discussion

12.30-2.00:    Lunch


Session 11: African Christianity and Its Various Interlocutors (Part 1): Islam and African Traditional Religion

2.00:    Session Chair: Fr. Michael Perry, OFM (Franciscan Generalate)

2.05-2:25:     Pierre Diara (Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris/Catholic Institute of Paris): “African Traditional Religion and Christianity in Dialogue”

2.25-2.45:     Fr. Cosmas Ebo Sarbah (University of Ghana): “Islam and Christianity in Dialogue in Africa"

2.45-3.00:    Discussion

3.00-3.30:     Break

Session 12: African Christianity and Its Various Interlocutors (Part 2)

3.30:    Session Chair: Obiageli Nzenwa (Independent Human Resources Consultant, Abuja)
3.35-4.05:     Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah (Diocese of Sokoto, Nigeria): “Christianity and the world of politics in Africa”

4.05-4.25:    Nwando Achebe (Michigan State University): “Historical Challenges to Christianity in Africa”

4.25-4.50:     Bishop Godfrey Onah (Diocese of Nsukka, Nigeria): “Current and Ongoing Intellectual Challenges to Christianity in Africa”

4.50-5.05:    Discussion

5.05:    Conference Adjourns for the Day

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7.30am:    Mass


Session 13: The Social Situation and Some Current Issues in African Christianity

9.00am:    Session Chair: M. Shawn Copeland (Boston College)

9.05-9.50:     Cardinal Peter Turkson (Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development): “The African Churches and the Social Question: Lessons from Catholic Social Teaching”

9.50-10.10:    Fr. Raymond Aina, MSP (National Missionary Seminary, Nigeria): “Laudato Si and the Environmental Challenge in Africa”

10.10-10.35:     Fr. Ludovic Lado, SJ (Catholic University of Central Africa): “African Pentecostalism in an emerging World Church”

10.35-10.50:    Break

10.50-11.20:    Fr. Michael Perry, OFM (Franciscan Generalate): “Social Reconciliation and the Role of the Church in Africa: Reflections from Burundi, Eastern DRC, and South Sudan”

11.20-11.45:    Dianne Pinderhughes (University of Notre Dame): “Social Disorganization and Social Disintegration: Some Observations for Black Catholics.”

11.45-12.00:    Discussion

12.00-1.00:    Lunch


Session 14: Faith and Culture in Contemporary Africa

1.00pm:    Session Chair: Fr. William Headley, CSSp (University of San Diego)

1.05-1.25:    Teresia Hinga (Santa Clara University): “African Cultures and the Christian Family Today”

1.25-1.50:    Amy Servais (Mater Domini, Cape Town): “Youth, Sexuality and Relationships in Africa and the African Church”

1.50-2.25:    Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu (Apostolic Nunciature, Nicaragua): "Ethnicity, Race, and Discriminations as Challenges to the African Christianity"

2.25-2.40:     Discussion

2.40-3.00:    Break


Session 15: Emerging African Scholars from Notre Dame: The Agenda of African Theology 

3.00:    Session Chair: David Clairmont (University of Notre Dame)

3.05-4.20:     Fr. Emeka Ngwoke ("Newman, Universal Revelation and Inculturation among the Igbo of Nigeria"), Fr. Emery Longanga ("What we have heard: Quest for Narrative for the New Evangelization in Africa"), Sr. Mary Reginald Anibueze DDL ("Liturgical Theology Contextualized: Towards An African Liturgical Theology"), Alison Fitchett Climenhaga ("Contesting Healing: Charismatic Faith Healing, Medical Treatment, and Development among Ugandan Catholics"); Fr. Mark Enemali, CSSp ("Manipulating the Deity: The Case of the Ark Narrative in 1 Samuel 4-6 and its Echoes in African Christianity")

4.20-4.50:     Closing summation: John Cavadini (University of Notre Dame)

6.30:     Closing Mass at Basilica of San Clemente, Celebrated by Francis Cardinal Arinze (Vatican City)

7.45-9:00:    Post-Mass Reception

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Registration has ended, but you are invited to attend the sessions.

If you would like to attend the sessions, please send a courtesy email to: