The Church of Now

Focuses on the youth in Africa and creates spaces for conversations among African young Catholics and the church leadership for developing youth ministries and youth formation that are relevant to the needs and concerns of young Catholics. It serves as a strong group for advocating for young people in the church and developing training manuals for young people and future youth ministers in the seminary and houses of formation.

The Vision

The Church of Now research unit, cares for young people committed to contributing to a more vibrant church. At the moment we are working on two projects. The first is writing a book on and with young people from different social groups who share about their life of faith in the Church. The second is this synodal experience between the Pope and the youth who shall meet virtually, listen, discern and act. After the meeting with the Pope, the young people will engage in different actions that will be responses to the questions broached during the meeting with the Pope. Our hope is that this “special occasion will inspire many initiatives in Africa that will promote youth leadership formation, and the full participation of African young people in the life of the church and society as developed in the 2018 Synod on Young People” (Document).

What Is The Building Bridges Initiative?

The full name is Building Bridges of Faith Across the African Continent. It is a one year-project that gather young people to listen to each other and to the hierarchy of the Church at the national, continental and global level. They converse and discuss on the issues that concern them. The approach is rather synodal: it is about journeying together, highlighting what each can bring to build. Through a process of co-responsibility. Il y a le Pan-African Catholic Digital Youth Synodal Conversation with Pope Francis.

Such a synodal conversation is driven by two movements. First, listen to African young people and to hear what they want to do for God the Church and the society n Africa. Second: for the youth leaders to listen to the pastoral vision of the church leadership in Africa developed through this current synodal process and through reading the text of Christus Vivit and the teachings of Pope Francis on the Church of Now (cf the Document).

Who Is Involved?

At this stage, it is still a pilot project which includes 8 African countries: Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Nigeria, Congo, DRC, Ivory Coast, Cameroon. In each country, we choose three universities and in each of them we create a cohort of 15 to 30 students supervised by teams of mentors. The partners of this PACTPAN’s project are numerous: DePaul University, Loyola University of Chicago, The Vatican, the Latin American, the National Episcopal Conferences, etc.

Conversation With the Pope

What is it?

It is a dialogue between young people and the Holy Father. It is not a game of questions and answers but a sharing of experiences, a diligent reflection on the challenges and discernment on the paths to follow. In Christus vivit, the Pope said: “Rather than listening to young people attentively, ‘all too often, there is a tendency to provide prepackaged answers and ready-made solutions, without allowing their real questions to emerge and facing the challenges they pose. ” (CV 65). The major element is listening. Stop for a moment to hear the young people. The Holy Father says it so well: “Every young person has something to say to others, something to say to the adults, to the priest, to the sisters, bishops and the Pope. We all need to hear you”.


On Tuesday, November 1st. Pope Francis has agreed to participate in a listening session with African Catholic university students on All Saints Day, 2022, designated by the African Union as African Youth Day.


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