By Mrs. Tarisai Chikowore (Vice Chairperson ArchZvita, Archdiocese of Harare)
The farewell mass for pilgrims going to Lisbon, Portugal for the World Youth Day was held at Chishawasha National Major Seminary in Harare on 22 July 2023, where youth from Zimbabwe’s eight dioceses converged for the final preparations. The farewell mass was attended by the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Paolo Rudelli, Bishop Rudolf Nyandoro, the Ambassador of Portugal to Zimbabwe, youth animators and family representatives for the youth.
In his homily Rt. Rev Bishop Rudolf Nyandoro said as Mary Magdelene went zealously to look for her master Jesus so we should all look to Him, the master.
“The Lord is a great consoler. The question Jesus is asking Mary, “Mary why are you weeping? is the same question he can pose to each one of us. Tell Jesus why you are weeping, don’t go anywhere else but to the Lord. We should be inspired by Mary in loving the Lord Jesus. Today the world is taking us away from God but we should strive to return to him,” said Bishop
Nyandoro. He told the youths that going to Portugal was an opportunity for them to witness to love of Jesus.
“Mary said Rabbon (master). She knew that Jesus was her master. We should also call Jesus our master. Tell him “master I am suffering, master journey with me,” Bishop Nyandoro said.
“Most of us are being taken away from our master and left in the wilderness and sometimes find it hard to return to the master. Move with Jesus all the time. He is nolonger dead but alive within you. The youth are on a Pilgrimage of life. Call on Jesus to move with you. Don’t forget to come and be witnesses of what you have seen like Mary Magdelene,” he reiterated.
Bishop Nyandoro thanked parents for allowing the children to go to Portugal and accompanying them to the farewell mass. He said it was not easy for them to get the money for the tickets and catering for them all the way to Lisbon. The Bishop thanked all the benefactors for allowing this to happen, some of whom had passed on. He asked the youths to remember all those who had assisted them.
Bishop Nyandoro appreciated the presence of the nuncio, His Excellence Archbishop Paolo Rudelli and the ambassador of Portugal and his wife for facilitating the visas. To the youths the Bishop reminded them that they are Zimbabweans and should not forget their morality and ubuntu. He reminded them that they were ambassadors and should not betray the country and the church. He challenged them never to forget their identity.
Mr Chitima said Zimbabwe has had a long standing relationship with the Holy See and Portugal. Mr. Chitima encouraged the youths to remember that they were always representing Zimbabwe.
His Excellence Archbishop Paolo Rudelli thanked Fr. Maseko and team for the long preparations of this journey. He told the youths that like the Virgin Mary they would travel in haste to Lisbon which he said is a beautiful city. He said said the beauty of being Catholic – the Universal church is that we share the same faith. He told the youths that they were going to meet Christ, to give, to share their faith and bring Jesus home. He asked the youths to make this privilege a gift for others who could not afford this journey.
Fr. Maseko expressed gratitude to the Holy See for choosing Lisbon as the venue for WYD where mother Mary brought the message through young people. He thanked ZCBC for their guidance in the whole process.
“Adult guilds, CCR, the Religious and families played a great role in the process. His Excellence Archbishop Paolo Rudelli was always ready to guide and this will always be appreciated,” said Fr. Maseko.
Fr Maseko thanked the Ambassador of Portugal and his team for their welcome and readiness to facilitate the visa process for the youth and their animators.