By Sr. Mufaro Chakuinga LCBL
With the support of His Lordship Bishop Raymond Mupandesekwa of Chinhoyi Diocese, the secretary to the Nuncio, Fr. Fillipe, the Ambassador of Portugal to Zimbabwe, Miguel De Calheiros, representative of Minister of Sports, Arts and Recreation, Dr. Kirsty Coventry, the World Youth Day was launched on 10 September 2022 at Rockwood Spiritual Center. About 500 youths arose with haste from eighty Dioceses to mark the beginning of a long journey to Lisbon which will be held next year in August 2023.
World youth day is an international gathering of all catholic youths with the Pope and is done after every three years. It has been a custom that the youth from all over the world converge to share the good news of the Gospel and to promote communion, participation and mission. WYD provides an opportunity for young Catholics from around the world to participate in a cultural exchange, an interaction that builds relationships and oneness. The theme of the World Youth Day is; ‘Mary arose and went with haste,’ (Lk 1vs 39) which encourages all young people to alive to the Gospel.
The process of launching the World Youth Day started with the celebration of holy mass presided over by Bishop Raymond Tapiwa Mupandasekwa.
“My dear young people, today we begin that long journey to Lisbon, we begin it with haste as Mary hurried with joy to the house of Elizabeth. We too begin this journey with great joy hurrying to Lisbon. We want to begin this pilgrimage with prayer, and we ask the Lord to help us make this pilgrimage an experience of grace and of encountering him,” Bishop Mupandasekwa said.
He encouraged the youth to take up the Lisbon experience as a way to renew their hope, faith and love for Jesus Christ.
“If you were to go to Lisbon without the courage of faith, the strength of hope and the fire of love, your journey would not be a pilgrimage, but just a visit,” he said.
Bishop Mupandasekwa said that young people were faced with many challenges and tribulations, which include exclusion at different levels of society, unemployment, school dropouts, drug and substance abuse and that only God can rescue them from this predicament. He called on young people to look up to the future with hope and trust in God.
On behalf of Honorable Minister of Sports, Arts and Recreation, Dr. Kirsty Coventry, Mr. Mudarikwa appreciated the good work being done by the church in forming the young people. He said the government of Zimbabwe was in full support of the pilgrimage to the World Youth Day. Mr. Mudarikwa said the government was committed to support programs for and by young people and the pilgrimage to Portugal was a torch bearer as it promotes the country’s image.
The Guest of Honor, Mr. Miguel, the Ambassador of Portugal to Zimbabwe, unveiled the World Youth Day banner.
“Rise in haste in solidarity and meet others in Lisbon,” Mr. Miguel said.