Pan-African Catholic Theology and Pastoral Network (PACTPAN)

Who we are

Motto: Abundant Life for God’s People in Africa

The Pan-African Catholic Theology and Pastoral Network (PACTPAN) is a community of African scholars and pastoral agents in the Catholic tradition and their ecumenical and inter-religious partners. PACTPAN provides an inclusive space, like an African village square, where African Catholic scholars, church leaders, grassroots pastoral agents, social justice leaders, and change agents work together. They follow the footprints of God in the changing momentum of Christian expansion in Africa today. We are committed African Christian leaders who together read the signs of the times in Africa and the world through the hopes and cries of our people, especially the poor. We pay attention to where God is at work in the midst of our faith communities and the wider African societies.

Through our collaboration inspired by the Gospel and the experience of the Christian faith in Africa, we seek to bridge the gap between pastoral ministry and ecclesiastical studies through multi-disciplinary, inter-disciplinary, and trans-disciplinary scholarly research, advocacy, and grassroot evangelization and integral development. 

We seek to also bridge the language barriers among us, and the gap between the laity and the clergy, female religious and priests and bishops in our common quest to meet the challenges and opportunities of the movement of the Spirit in history. We are convinced that God has given Africa the privilege of leading the World Church in these challenging times and wish to support our Church leaders and faithful with the theological, pastoral, and spiritual resources they need to lead God’s people in Africa and the world.

PACTPAN seeks to produce transformational pastoral designs and manuals, leadership training programs for pastoral ministries and social engagement. Through our collaborative work and harvesting of the everyday joys and sorrows of our people as they strive to faithfully live their faith, we provide educational formation and ongoing professional development of pastoral agents (laity, religious and clergy). PACTPAN works closely with Catholic universities in Africa and partners in the rest of the world, and in close relationship with dioceses, religious congregations, episcopal conferences, and the Holy See. PACTPAN’s publication, and advocacy focus mainly on the life of the church and Catholics in all of Africa and Africa in the diaspora and blacks in other parts of the world. PACTPAN’s members strive through their collaborative work to inspire hope, transformational faith by promoting, creating, curating, and celebrating our  Catholic intellectual, cultural, and spiritual heritage as Africans, while offering best practices in the pastoral field for a vital Church.

Brief History of PACTPAN

The Pan-African Catholic Theology and Pastoral Network formally began on December 10, 2019 through an unanimous agreement reached by participants at the First Pan-African Catholic Congress on Theology, Society, and Pastoral Life held at Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu, Nigeria. PACTPAN is housed at the Center for World Catholicism and Inter-Cultural Theology (CWCIT), DePaul University with offices in Nairobi, Kenya; Abuja, Nigeria; Lubumbashi, DRC, and Rome, Italy. Membership is open to all African Catholic Church leaders (in diverse fields like theology, missiology, biblical studies, pastoral studies, healthcare, social sciences, leadership etc.), as well as frontline pastoral workers mainly in social ministries, social justice work, and educators in the faith and in church and public schools and academies broadly conceived, as well as workers in Catholic health facilities. Membership is open to all Catholic leaders who accept the vision and mission of PACTPAN. Scholars and pastoral agents from other Christian and religious traditions join PACTPAN as partners. Membership is drawn from Africans working in both the continent and outside it.


PACTPAN serves as a permanent agency for inter-disciplinary, multi-disciplinary, and trans-disciplinary research for African Catholic scholars, pastoral leaders, Church frontline and grassroots workers in cities and villages in Africa. PACTPAN undertakes ongoing online academic conversations, training, and formation; unit-based focused and theme centered research; advocacy for women, children, the poor, and those who inhabit the existential peripheries in Africa; and a biannual Pan-African Catholic Congress on current issues in the Church focusing on the living, breathing realities of lived Catholicism and the daily triumph and struggles of God’s people in Africa.

PACTPAN supports her members to serve the poor and promote the leadership of faith-based women and women religious in Africa who are working in diverse communities especially in rural communities. Members are encouraged and supported to work locally in their own contexts to support the effort of the Church Family of God in Africa in the mission of bringing about the reign of God in the daily lives of our people by translating faith into action and promoting the assets and agency of every day African faithful in their search for abundant life amidst recurrent socio-economic and political challenges facing Africa.

An important aspect of the work of PACTPAN’s members is advocacy, that is, every member and every unit is committed to being a voice for the voiceless, so PACTPAN runs a welfare scheme to support members who face  any difficulty, and it has teams of experts working to put an end to human trafficking, modern day slavery, sexual abuse of women in Church, and society, and child abuse and neglect; and better working conditions for Church workers. PACTPAN also advocates for human rights, religious freedom, and social transformation and good governance in the state as well as in the Church without which the continent of Africa cannot survive.  

PACTPAN’s Assembly works with the core leadership to choose the topics for research based on current issues in Africa drawing also from the daily life of God’s people in Africa and the complexities of contexts and times. In choosing the themes and focus of its conversation, research, advocacy, and publications, the leadership pays special attention to some of the themes or synodal conversations identified by SECAM, local bishops, and the papal magisterium and the research of our members and what members hear and see in the lives of our people, especially women, children, youth, the elderly, and the poor.

 PACTPAN members engage these issues as African Catholics leaders through three approaches—case studies, problem solving, and best practices. PACTPAN wishes to be a strong agency for publication of works by African scholars, mentoring and dissemination of research and for amplifying the voices African Catholics, especially women and the poor, through multiple channels and platforms both locally and internationally.

PACTPAN emerged from the African Catholicism Project of the Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology, DePaul University, Chicago, U.S.A under the leadership of Fr Stan Chu Ilo (Nigeria). The African Catholicism Project was launched in November 2015 as an international collaborative effort with an overarching goal to expand the production and distribution of scholarly and pastoral resources by African Catholic scholars. The African Catholicism Project has these objectives: Foster collaboration among Catholic scholars working in Africa and between scholars working in Africa and those working in the United States and Europe; Support the work of African scholars teaching in under-resourced institutions in Africa; Encourage interdisciplinary work among scholars studying African Catholicism; Produce written resources, both in print and online, serving both the scholarly community and the pastoral needs of the Catholic Church in Africa; Ensure the continuity of African scholarship through the mentoring of the next generation of African Catholic scholars. These objectives are now being continued and expanded through PACTPAN.


PACTPAN exists to encourage her members to believe in a better possible Church and society in Africa. PACTPAN members challenge themselves to swim against the current and dare to think differently and work collaboratively in new ways every day to bring about changes in the Church and society in Africa through contextual engagement with the challenges and opportunities that we see in the momentum of Christian expansion in Africa.  The Vision of the Network is to bridge the gap between pastoral practice and multi-disciplinary scholarly work on the African continent by collaboratively listening to God speaking to us through the voices of God’s people in Africa, especially the poor, in order to inspire hope and transformational faith and promote, create, curate and celebrate best pastoral practices for the betterment of Church and society and procurement of abundant life for God’s people in Africa.

“What is done without taking the time to do it well, does not stand the test of time.” -St. Vincent de Paul


The Constitution of PACTPAN states that it is led by an executive board headed by an elected coordinating servant, a core leadership team coordinated by the director of programs, and national leaders in the continent of Africa in those countries where there is a chapter of PACTPAN, and internationally is supported through the work of the U.S based, Friends of the Pan-African Catholic Network Inc.

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