Fr. Edwin Mulandu – Lusaka, Zambia
The Theological formation initiative was organised by the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS)’s International Secretariat and the Pontifical Mission Societies National Direction in Zambia in view of the Extraordinary Missionary Month of October 2019 called for by Pope Francis. The Theological Colloquium was explained as a formation initiative that represents the four dimensions of Preparing for and living the Extraordinary Mission Month of October 2019.
Ten PMS National Directors grace the Colloquium
The Apostolic Nuncio to Zambia and Malawi, Archbishop Gianfranco Gallone celebrated the opening Mass which was attended by three Bishops of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB). Diocese of Chipata and ZCCB President, George Lungu; Lusaka Archbishop, Alick Banda and Livingstone Diocese Bishop, Valentine Kalumba represented the Zambian Conference at the opening ceremonies. The latter Bishop is also President of the ZCCB Episcopal Commission for Mission.
In all, a total of forty Participants, including ten PMS National Directors and four PMS Diocesan Directors as well as some Catholic secretariat staff, took part in the theological formation sessions.
A rich and varied presentation of academic papers on mission
Twelve Scholars drawn from English speaking Africa presented academic papers. Sr. Obiorah Mary Jerome of Nigeria presented a paper on, The challenge of full participation of the laity in the mission of the Church in Africa. Sr. Florence Oso, another Nigerian Theologian’s paper was on, Migration, urbanisation and mission in the city. Fr. Anthony Akinwale O.P also from Nigeria, spoke about Mutuality in mission - sending and receiving.
From Cameroon, two academicians made their contributions. Fr. Humphrey Tatah Mbuy presented a paper on, Pentecostalism, interreligious dialogue and the mission of the Church in Africa. Cameroonian Professor, Paul Nchoji Nkwi’s presentation focused on Anthropological challenges, Sacraments, scripture and the mission of the Church in Africa.
Malawi had two presentations. Fr. George Buleya on, Social media and the Mission of the Church in Africa, while Fr. Joseph Kimu highlighted the issue of Sacraments in Africa - Missio Ad gentes.
Tanzania, Ghana, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Zambia had one speaker each. Dr Camillus Kassala’s presentation was on Responsible stewardship of creation. Fr. Francis Appiah Kubi of Ghana: The vocation, ministry and mission of priests and religious men and women in Church mission in Africa.
Fr. Lawrence Daka SJ, a Zimbabwean, presented a paper on, The hunger for healing as a challenge to the Church’s ministry in a fast-changing Africa. Fr. Peter - John Pearson of South Africa: Corruption as a stumbling block to the mission of the Church. Then Fr. Patrick Chilambwe, Zambia spoke on, The role of Christians in public office in the mission of evangelisation in public service in Africa.
To cap it all, Fr. Fabrizio Meroni, Secretary-General of the Pontifical Missionary Union, Rome also participated in the Theological Colloquium.
Participants express satisfaction and gratitude
Participants eagerly listened to the speakers and later expressed great satisfaction at the richness of the papers presented and urged African theologians and academicians to share their knowledge with ordinary Christians regularly.
The Pontifical Mission Societies says they decided to engage with African academicians in order to foster theological reflection and Missionary formation in the pastoral life of Local Churches. This is one way in which the African Church is preparing for the Extraordinary Missionary Month of October 2019 and beyond.