The parish apostolate was closely linked to the missionary activity of evangelisation in building up the local churches in Africa. This is clear when we look at what happened in Chad, Madagascar, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, etc.
Today the parish apostolate continues to embrace all classes of people at all levels of society. On the one hand, parishes have become places of contact and direct service to the poor and the minorities, to intellectuals and cadres, to prisoners and the sick, to refugees and migrants, to young and the elderly. On the other hand, parishes have become places of collaboration and ever greater integration into the local Church.
Our parishes are also generally engaged in dialogue at various levels of faith (ecumenical and inter-religious with the traditional African religions), and with the issues of inculturation. In the past, Jesuit missionaries established mission parishes. The number of diocesan priests is currently increasing, and the Society is gradually handing parishes back to bishops, beginning with those which correspond less to our way of proceeding, particularly with regard to their spiritual, social, and missionary dimensions.
Today, in their service of Africa, Jesuits still administer 80 parishes, 14 of which belong to the Society, and 66 are entrusted to us by the bishops. Of the 729 Jesuit priests in Africa, 134 are engaged full-time, and 89 part-time in the parish ministry.