The first ever Pan African Catholic Congress on Theology, Society and Pastoral Life to reflect on the church as a beacon of hope for the continent on Thursday kicked off in Enugu.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) gathered that no fewer than 700 individuals from across Africa including women and men, lay and clergy, faithful and academics will gather in Enugu for the three-day congress.
The congress has the theme “What must we do to perform the works of God”.
It is expected to propose better ways to renew and reform institutions, structures and system of the church in the continent to actualize the missionary goals set out by Pope Francis.
The President of the congress, Archbishop Charles Buckle of Ghana told newsmen in Enugu that the event was convoked by the Catholic Church in Africa.
Buckle said that the event was an initiative of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) which started 50 years ago in Uganda.
He said that before then, there was a major event that happened in the Catholic Church within the last 100 years, the second vertical council which took place from 1962 to 1965.
The Archbishop explained that vertical council was the highest assembly of catholic bishops which the pope was the most fundamental decisions that impacted on their faith and lives as Christians.
Buckle said: “this conference is like a synod but the highest level of it, so the council, according to historians, was the first pastoral council organised by the Catholic Church, most of the councils before the second vertical council was convoked to respond to crisis.
“During that time, we did not have a lot of catholic theologians, the few African bishops who participated then was assigned to western theologians for evangelism.
“Those bishops engaged in private talk, they talked about the future of religious faith in post colonial Africa.
“What is happening now is that our own people are taking over the running of churches in Africa; what you see here is how churches in Africa are taking over and running the church as a continent,” he said.