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Robert Cardinal SarahJohn-Henry Westen/LifeSiteNews

NAIROBI, Kenya (LifeSiteNews) — During these turbulent times, the fidelity of the Church in Africa to faith and morals is having an ever-increasing impact within the Church as a whole. It is fitting, then, that Tangaza University College’s School of Theology will host a 2024 Theological Symposium in Nairobi, Kenya, on February 22-23, 2024. This conference, organized by the dogmatic department, aims to shed light on the missionary mandate of Christ in the religious, cultural, and social context of Africa today. The keynote speaker will be Cardinal Robert Sarah.

The symposium, having as its theme “Make Disciples of all Nations: The Missionary Mandate of Christ,” addresses pressing issues such as secularization, religious fundamentalism, and the challenges faced by youth and families in today’s world. The aim is to foster a deeper understanding of an effective missionary approach to Christian doctrine in this time of, on one hand, mounting confusion within and between faith traditions and, on the other, political, economic and cultural stresses within — and outside — African society and their impact on the life of the Church as a whole.

The symposium will bring together a diverse range of speakers, including lay people and religious leaders. Representatives from academia, government, and civil society will delve into topics concerning young people, the family, and the secular world. The event will include expert presentations with opportunities for speaker-audience interaction. A press conference will follow.

According to its own document describing the conference, Tangaza University College (TUC) anticipates several outcomes from this symposium, including a heightened commitment to the missionary mandate of Christ among the laity, religious, and future priests. Furthermore, the event aims to provide greater clarity on the challenges of evangelizing the youth, addressing family dynamics, and navigating the fast-secularizing societies of Africa. The symposium seeks to chart the way forward for a more profound and effective evangelization effort in light of the accelerating secularization of African society attendant by economic development and increasing interaction with anti-family and anti-life influences from the West.

Setting the spiritual compass: Archbishop Anyolo’s opening address

The symposium will kick off with the opening address by Archbishop Anyolo, the Archbishop of Nairobi. He will set the tone for the event with an exploration of “The Missionary Mandate of Christ.”

As a revered spiritual leader, Anyolo’s address will serve as the catalyst, setting the tone for the entire event through an exploration of “The Missionary Mandate of Christ.” Anyolo is a prominent figure in the ecclesiastical landscape, known for his dedication to the Church and his pastoral leadership. As the Archbishop of Nairobi, he brings a wealth of experience, theological depth, and a profound commitment to the Gospel.

“The Missionary Mandate of Christ” will focus on the core principles of Christ’s commission to His disciples. This mandate, often encapsulated in the Gospel of Matthew (Mt. 28:19-20), forms the bedrock of the Church’s mission to proclaim the Good News to all nations. Anyolo’s opening address will play a pivotal role in guiding the narrative of the symposium. Attendees can anticipate a reflective and spiritually uplifting exploration of the missionary mandate, with a keen understanding of its implications in the contemporary world.

Given the theme’s connection to the Gospel of Matthew, participants can also expect Anyolo to draw from Scripture, providing a biblical foundation for the discussion. This approach not only roots the exploration in the teachings of Christ but also adds a layer of spiritual depth to the symposium’s proceedings.

It is likely that Anyolo will also address the contemporary challenges faced by the Church in fulfilling the missionary mandate like the recent Pope’s statement on blessing of same sex couples. This also may include reflections on secularization, changing cultural landscapes, and the urgent need for evangelization in the face of societal shifts.

Cardinal Robert Sarah will give the keynote address: ‘Make Disciples of all Nations’

A keynote address from His Eminence Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDWDS), will follow. Sarah will delve into the core theme, “Make Disciples of all Nations,” drawing inspiration from the Gospel of Matthew (Mt. 28:19-20).

Sarah is a revered figure within the Catholic Church. His contributions to liturgical theology and pastoral guidance have left an indelible mark on the Church worldwide. As prefect emeritus, he continues to be a guiding voice for the faithful.

Sarah’s choice to draw inspiration from Matthew’s Gospel, specifically the verses in Chapter 28, reflects a deliberate effort to anchor the discussion in the words of Christ Himself. This biblical foundation provides a solid footing for exploring the nuances and implications of the missionary mandate. Sarah is expected to offer profound insights into the challenges and opportunities inherent in the global mission of evangelization. The dynamics of cultural, social, and political contexts will likely be considered, providing a comprehensive view of the Church’s mission to make disciples in diverse nations.

The choice of Cardinal Sarah for the keynote address underscores the significance of the symposium. His Eminence brings a wealth of theological expertise, pastoral wisdom, and a global perspective that will enrich the discourse on evangelization, leaving a lasting impact on the attendees.

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Navigating evangelization: A discourse by Abp. Maurice Muhatia Makumba

Archbishop Maurice Muhatia, vice-chair of the KCCB (Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops) and Archbishop of Kisumu, will next step onto the stage to unravel the intricacies of evangelization in the AMECEA (Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa) region (i.e. Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia). His talk promises to be a compelling exploration of pastoral, cultural, and social responses, shedding light on the strengths, challenges, and opportunities encountered by the Church in this unique geographic context.

Makumba is expected to highlight the strengths that serve as the Church’s foundation in the AMECEA Region. These might include the unwavering faith of the local communities, the dedication of clergy and lay leaders, and the deep-rooted traditions that can serve as bridges for effective evangelization.

No region is without its challenges, and the AMECEA region is no exception. Makumba is likely to delve into the hurdles faced by the Church, be they socio-economic, cultural, or political. Addressing these challenges is crucial for crafting a nuanced and effective evangelization strategy.

In the complex landscape of the AMECEA region, there are undoubtedly numerous opportunities for the Church to flourish. Whether through innovative pastoral approaches, intercultural dialogue, or community engagement, Makumba may illuminate the pathways that can lead to a more robust and impactful evangelization effort.

When Makumba delivers his discourse, he will not only provide a comprehensive overview of the present state of evangelization in the AMECEA region but also issue a call to action. The insights gleaned from his talk are likely to inform the Church’s strategies, inspire initiatives, and foster a renewed sense of purpose in spreading the Gospel and the Catholic church doctrines.

The significance of Makumba’s talk extends far beyond the AMECEA region. The nuanced understanding of the protection of the pastoral, cultural, and social dynamics in Africa gained from his insights can potentially shape the Church’s approach to evangelization in other regions facing similar challenges.

Diverse perspectives: Unveiling talks on evangelization at Tangaza University symposium

As the TUC Theological Symposium unfolds, a series of thought-provoking talks will explore various facets of evangelization in the contemporary world. Here’s a glimpse into the diverse perspectives that will be shared by distinguished speakers during this illuminating event:

“A Living Vice of Witchcraft and Occultic Activities in Eastern Africa,” Rev. Prof. Clement Majawa (HOD, Dogmatic Department, Catholic University of Eastern Africa)

Rev. Prof. Clement Majawa will tackle the challenging subject of witchcraft and occultic activities in Eastern Africa. His talk promises to shed light on the intricacies of these practices and their potential obstacles to achieving a deeper evangelization in the region. By addressing these sensitive issues, Rev. Prof. Majawa aims to foster a comprehensive understanding of the cultural and spiritual landscape in Eastern Africa.

“Liturgy as an Indispensable Source of Evangelization in Our Time,” Rev. Dr. Patrick Ekpada O.C.D – (Director, Institute of Spirituality and Religious Formation [ISRF], TUC)

Rev. Dr. Patrick Ekpada will emphasize the profound significance of liturgy as an indispensable source for evangelization in our contemporary world. As the director of the ISRF at TUC, he brings a wealth of expertise to illuminate how the sacred rituals and practices within the Church can serve as powerful tools for spreading the Gospel message. This talk is likely to delve into the transformative potential of liturgy in fostering a deeper connection with faith.

“Reaffirming the Christian Family as the Vital Cell of Evangelization in Africa,” Dr. (Sr.) Florence Kabala PMS (Moral Theology Department, TUC)

Dr. (Sr.) Florence Kabala will explore the fundamental role of the Christian family as the vital cell of evangelization on the African continent. Drawing from her expertise as the head of the moral theology department at TUC, she is expected to delve into the moral and spiritual foundations that make the family a cornerstone for spreading the Gospel. This talk is likely to offer insights into strengthening familial bonds as a means of fostering faith.

“The Contribution of Consecrated Women in the Work of Evangelization,” Dr. (Sr.) Mary Joan Iwenofu, IHM (HOD, Mission Studies Department, TUC)

Dr. (Sr.) Mary Joan Iwenofu will brings her expertise as the head of the mission studies department at TUC to highlight the invaluable contribution of consecrated women in ongoing evangelization efforts. This talk will illuminate the unique role that consecrated women play in shaping and nurturing the spiritual landscape, emphasizing their vital contributions to the Church’s mission.

“Evangelization among the Laity: Prospective for the Church in East Africa,” Dr. Mary Mukami Njoroge (Academic Director – Common Courses Strathmore University)

Dr. Mary Mukami Njoroge, the academic director at Strathmore University, will focus on the prospective role of the laity in the Church’s evangelization efforts, with a specific emphasis on East Africa. By examining the potential of lay individuals in spreading the Gospel, her talk is expected to provide insights into empowering the laity to actively engage in evangelization within their unique contexts.

“Revitalizing Evangelization: Young Catholics as Protagonists Among Peers,” Mr. Tobias Nauruki (LifeSiteNews)

Our very own Mr. Tobias Nauruki, the LifeSiteNews regional coordinator, will discuss the revitalization of evangelization, emphasizing the role of young Catholics as protagonists among their peers. Drawing from his experience as a representative of a prominent media outlet, Nauruki will explore how the younger generation can actively contribute to and lead evangelization efforts in a rapidly changing world.

“A Theological Lens,” Rev. Prof. George Kocholickal 

As the head of the dogmatic department at TUC, Rev. Prof. George Kocholickal will bring a wealth of theological expertise to the symposium. His extensive knowledge of dogmatic theology positions him as a guiding figure in exploring the theological dimensions of Mary’s role in the work of evangelization.

Student perspectives: Nurturing future evangelizers

The symposium also places a spotlight on student presentations, offering a glimpse into the future of evangelization:

  1. “The Role of Ordained Priests in Evangelization in Our Times” – Adriano Agostinho Lapuia (Student, TUC)
  2. “The Bible in Evangelization Today: Reconstructing The Contemporary Hopes and Despairs with Thomistic Hermeneutical Thoughts” – Nimanya Filex (Student, Hekima University College)
  3. “Young People and New Media as Protagonists of Evangelization Among Their Peers in Africa” – Joseph Macharia (Student, TUC)
  4. “’Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus’: What Vatican II Actually Teaches and Its Implication For Evangelization Today” – Khamasi Mike Brian (Student, TUC)
  5. “Thomistic Insights for Evangelization Today” – Renatus Lawrence Mwakalukwa (Student, TUC)

This symposium promises to be an intellectual journey, weaving together the wisdom of seasoned leaders and the fresh perspectives of aspiring theologians. It sets the stage for a holistic exploration of the missionary mandate of Christ in our contemporary world, offering profound insights that will resonate far beyond the symposium itself.

Tangaza University stands as a center of Catholic theological and ministerial education within the African context. Established in 1986, it has grown into an institution that embraces the professional and religious training of people from diverse backgrounds. Governed in accordance with the norms of the Catholic Church, Tangaza University College has played a crucial role in shaping the future leaders and ministers who contribute to the transformation of societies worldwide.

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