By Sr. Mufaro Chakuinga LCBL
Over 50 youth from the country’s eight dioceses converged in Bulawayo at Isinga Youth Centre for the annual general meeting which started from 11 to 13 November 2022.
The youth leadership annually meet to plan for and evaluate Catholic youth programmes in the country. This year, the leadership of young people started their evaluation with a missionary synodality talk shared by the National Coordinator, Fr. Johane Maseko. Fr. Maseko stressed on the importance of baptism as the sacrament of initiation in a Christian journey.
‘’We must have an understanding of the meaning of baptism and know the impact or effect it has on each one of us. Baptism is a sacrament which unlocks the door to all sacraments. It is the sacrament of all sacraments in that, it is the beginning of the journey of being God’s children. Hence, it makes us children of God and makes one receive an indelible identity,” Fr. Maseko said.
Fr. Maseko stressed that baptism makes people like Christ in his kingly, prophetic and priestly identity. He said baptized people can never be the same even if they try to denounce their faith because the mark is indelible.
“This privilege changes one in behavior and attitude. It sets us on a journey whose destination is eternal life. When we talk about missionary synodality, we are referring to this sending that we get from baptism. Missionary is born from baptism and sending is living our baptismal identity. A missionary is not only an expatriate person. Every Catholic baptized is a missionary by nature as baptism sets them on a mission to enrich the world and not to remain just a mere Christian,” he said.
Fr. Maseko said the word synodality depicts walking together. He said that true identity of the church has been synodal, moving physically and spiritually together towards God and by God guided by the Holy Spirit
The youth council then discussed ways of transforming the youth ministry based on Evangelii Gaudium andChristus Vivit.
The young people challenged the Church to equip them with leadership skills so that they participate fully in church affairs. They also called for financial support and encouraged the Church and society to listen to them and to give them a platform to fully express themselves and their ideas. The youth expressed concern on the growing rate of unemployment and challenged the Church to absorb them in the different structures of the church or help them set up entrepreneurial and self-help projects.
The Archbishop of Bulawayo, Alex Thomas, in a mass held for the youth at the St. Mary’s Basilica encouraged young people to trust in God, to turn to him and holding on to Jesus all the time.
‘’Be constant in prayer and never give up. Some young people have moved from one church to the other, from one pastor to the other citing that the Catholic Church was not addressing their needs. Young people, you should stand firm in your faith,’ said Archbishop Alex.
The Archbishop encouraged the youth to be active and alive in the church and not to be shy to showcase their talents, creativity, skills and knowledge.
“The Church is with you and does not want to lose any one of you. Accept the challenge of decision making, make good options and plan ahead for the betterment of the whole church. Before you go to the internet for uncle google, look for wise people who can help you if you are in trouble otherwise you will be misled,” the Archbishop said.
Archbishop Alex challenged the young people to know and love the Church and to invite others to the Catholic faith.
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