By Sharon Vafana and Gwyneth Makhulumo
Archbishop Alex challenged the youth to actively participate in church activities and to reach out to their peers whose faith has waned. He said this during the celebration to mark the closure of the World Meeting of Families where thousands of families from the Archdiocese of Bulawayo converged at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima. The day whose theme was; “The Archdiocesan Family Day,” coincided with the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Archdiocesan Patroness. The event which was set for 26 June 2022 and dedicated to young people, was combined with the blessing and commissioning of the Archdiocesan Junior Youth Pastoral Council.
The event was prepared in prayer, outstanding cooperation and meticulous planning that resulted in the participation of many families within the Archdiocese of Bulawayo.
The event helped participants to reflect on the importance of family and the issues that are overlooked in everyday family life. Families were challenged to uphold values such as prayerfulness, unity, respect and love to protect the institution from disintegration.
The young people used every opportunity to glorify God, listen to Jesus telling them about the digital era and what God expects from families. Fr. George Wurayayi encouraged the youth to use social media as a tool for transmitting faith to young people in the digital era. He described it as “a marketplace for both good and bad sites but very useful if at all it is used for purposes of development and spiritual growth.” Guided by John 2:5, young people were challenged to evangelize and promote the values of Ubuntu through responsible use of social media.” The young people participated in the debate about challenges of the media in the contemporary world. This was done to increase the young people’s awareness on the disadvantages of unselective media use.
The young people made outstanding performances throughout the Eucharistic celebration with plays that emphasized on Synodality and the importance of families in promoting vocations. Surely, a Church without children has no future and allowing children to participate in the Church does not only give them confidence but initiates them in the faith and ownership of the same Church.
The young people were extremely grateful for the support they received from the local church and families. They expressed gratitude to those individuals, families and organizations who made valuable contributions towards the success of the day and to everyone who dedicated their time to participate. The contributions reflected the Archdiocese of Bulawayo’s thrust for a self-reliant, self-ministering and self-propagating Church. The diocesan youth chairperson encouraged the youth to support and pray for each other as encouraged by the synod.