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


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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