Pope Francis to meet young Nigerians and other African Catholics

Of Aidoghie Paulin, Abuja

Pope Francis will meet virtually, on November 1, 2022, with young Nigerian Catholics and others from 27 institutions in nine African countries. The meeting follows a virtual conversation that began earlier in the year with young people from the Americas. NCR, a religious news source, reported that the event was an effort to continue the pope’s promotion of the synod’s commitment to listen directly to voices across the Catholic Church. The virtual session, titled “Building Bridges Across Africa: A Synodal Meeting Between Pope Francis and University Students,” is themed: “Ubuntu: A Culture of Encounter; We all belong. The day, which coincided with the Solemnity of All Saints’ Day celebrated by Catholics around the world, is also a day set aside for African Youth Day.

Young people, mainly students from some Catholic educational institutions, such as universities and seminaries, cross sub-Saharan Africa.

Selected institutions in Nigeria participating in the pilot program include Saints Peter and Paul Major Seminary, Bodija, Ibadan; All Saints Major Seminary, Uhiele, Ekpoma; Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu; and Madonna University, Elele.

Others are Augustine University of Lagos; Good Shepherd Seminary; Kaduna; Veritas University, Abuja; and Catholic Institute of West Africa, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. One of the organizers of the virtual meeting, the Rev. Stan Chu Ilo of the Pan-African Catholic Theological and Pastoral Network said, “We believe this is a kairos moment for young people to hear from the visible leader of the Catholic Church and to offer a new mandate, a new call to action and a new mission.

Ilo, a research professor of global Christianity and African studies at the Center for Global Catholicism and Cross-Cultural Theology at DePaul University in Chicago, US, also said the program is in line with a focus on the missionary conversion that Pope Francis had defined as the center center of his papacy.

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