Abuja, Nigeria. The 6th International Theological Conference of the Institute of Consecrated Life in Africa (InCLA) took place on September 26, 2023, at the Institute of Consecrated Life in Africa, Abuja, Nigeria. Esteemed guests, including Cardinal Peter Ebere Okpaleke, the Catholic Bishop of Ekwulobia Diocese, Bishop Hilary Dachelem of the Catholic Bishop of Bauchi Diocese CMF, Bishop Donatus Ogun, OSA, as well as other revered priests and religious leaders from various congregations, graced the event.
The three-day conference, themed “Formation for Authentic Mission in 21st Century African Church,” saw Cardinal Peter Ebere Okpaleke delivering a powerful keynote address that set the tone for the discussions ahead. The Conference was further enriched by enlightening address notes from distinguished figures, including Dr. Peter Okonkwo, CMF, the InCLA Director, and Fr. Jude Thaddeus Langeh, CMF, the President of the Association of Claretian Major Superiors in Africa (ACLA). Fr. Prof. Anthony Kanu, OSA, the President of the Conference of Major Superiors of Nigeria, also shared his valuable insights.
The heart of the conference lay in the series of paper presentations by seasoned scholars. His Lordship Most Rev. Donatus Ogun, OSA, addressed “Formation and Communion of Goods” in the first presentation, shedding light on the importance of communal formation in the modern Church. Following this, Sr. Veronica Openibo, SHCJ, presented a thought-provoking discourse on “The Mission and Responsibility of African Consecrated Persons in Global Catholicism,” emphasizing the global relevance of African consecrated individuals.
Rev. Fr. Dr. Idara Otu, MSP, contributed the third paper presentation, exploring the delicate balance between “Formation for Mission – Between Information and Performativity.” His insights prompted profound reflections on the evolving role of information in shaping the mission of the Church.
Moreover, the conference fostered insightful group discussions, where representatives from 27 congregations from diverse nations engaged in meaningful exchanges of ideas and experiences. These discussions nurtured a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing consecrated life in Africa.
As the conference drew to a close on September 29, 2023, the ACLA President, Fr. Jude Thaddeus Langeh, CMF, presented the conference communique. In his closing address, he expressed gratitude for the fruitful discussions and shared insights throughout the event. He prayed that God would guide all participants safely and peacefully back to their respective congregations, carrying with them the inspiration and knowledge gained during this profoundly meaningful gathering.