By CCN Reporter
Catholic youths from all walks of life in Zimbabwe will meet this Saturday, 10 September 2022 at Rockwood Spiritual Centre to launch and prepare for the World Youth Day to be held in Portugal next year. The theme of the World Youth Day will be, “Mary arose and went with haste,” (Lk 1 vs 39), which encourages all young to rise and follow Jesus.
World Youth Day (WYD) is the coming together of young people from all over the world in an international conference where they meet with the Pope and to experience communion and participation. It can be defined as a pilgrimage, a celebration of the youths, an expression of the universal church and an intense moment of evangelization for the world’s youth.
The last WYD was held in Panama and this time around the youths will gather in Lisbon, Portugal from the 1st of August to the 6th of August 2023. It is the 16th international WYD catering for all young people. The dates of departure will be 21 July 2023 as the pilgrimage will start with a mission/pastoral week where all the youth will be engaged in pastoral activities and works of mercy to prepare them for the World Youth day encounter. The missionary week will give the youth an opportunity to interact with local families where they will be staying to experience the people’s culture.
The aim of WYD is to promote synodality and to provide all participants with a universal Church experience, fostering a personal encounter with Jesus and also to promote peace and fraternity among young people. It is the time when the young people experience and express communion with the Pope, as the successor of Peter living their Catholicity. It is also a moment of recognizing the role played by the youth in the Church and society, when the Pope takes time to reflect with the youth.
The National Coordinator for the Youth, Fr. Johane Maseko encourages the local Church to support the youth so that they may attend the pilgrimage in their numbers. He said each country should have a solidarity fund to support those who cannot afford to pay for the pilgrimage.
“We call upon parents, families and well-wishers to support children from rural parishes and poor families so that they can also participate in next year’s World Youth Day. This is important since the Church is for every one and no one should be left behind,” said Fr. Maseko.
The youths in Zimbabwe through their National Catholic Council have appointed a task force by the young people to disseminate the information in preparation for the pilgrimage. They use social media and other available means of communications to diffuse information to everyone while those who are not connected receive letters from their parishes. Every diocese is expected to launch the World Youth Day locally so as to accord all young people the opportunity to participate in the process.
“The registration for 2023 WYD begins on 10 September this year and that is when we will know how many young people will attend. We call upon all Dioceses to encourage and support young people in such initiatives as this gives them an opportunity to pray and network. The WYD is also an opportunity that empowers young people,” Fr. Maseko stated.