Planned Catholic Youth Convention in Kenya to Explore Successes, Shocks of 2023 World Youth Day

Fr. Cosmas Mwova with some of the diocesan youth representatives planning for the November 30 National youth convention. Credit: ACI Africa.

Only nine out of the 400 young people that the youth office of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) had anticipated to attend the World Youth Day (WYD) made it to the event that took place in Lisbon, Portugal, in August last year.

This was meager representation, the KCCB National Youth Chaplain, Fr. Cosmas Mwova, has said, adding that participants in a national youth convention slated for November 30 share experiences from the WYD in Lisbon and learn how to prepare for such important days.

About 25,000 youths drawn from the 27 dioceses of the East African country are expected to participate in the event.

Credit: ACI Africa

In a Tuesday, April 16 interview with ACI Africa, Fr. Mwova weighed in on the challenges that the national youth office faced in the preparation for the WYD last year that he said led to the country's meager representation at the global event.


The Kenyan Catholic Priest spoke to ACI Africa on the sidelines of a youth council meeting that was held at JJ McCarthy Centre of the Assumption Sisters of Nairobi (ASN) to organize for the one-day convention.

“We plan to explain to our young people what happened because most of them never got an opportunity to hear from us,” he said, and added, “We had anticipated that more than 400 people would attend the event. Unfortunately, only nine of our young people managed to go to Lisbon.”

“The issue was that we were denied visas to Europe,” he said, and explained, “We need to mention these challenges. Most of these young people had expressed their intention to go but they encountered challenges with passport and visa acquisition.”

The member of the Clergy of Kenya’s Catholic Diocese of Machakos said that even those who had the documents got them when it was too late and that their situation was worsened by financial constraints.

The National Youth Chaplain at KCCB explained that some of the young people, despite having all necessary documents, did not have letters from Parish Priests, a requirement that was outlined by KCCB.

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“We lost it at the last minute,” he said, and added, “Despite some of the youth having all the documents needed, they were denied visas and this came as a discouragement to them.”

Credit: ACI Africa

“We could not even explain to them what happened because it was tough, they felt frustrated,” he said.

The planned convention will also have a Eucharistic celebration, talks amid other activities intended to keep the young people engaged during that holiday season.

The two-day meeting held at JJ McCarthy Centre was attended by youth representatives from 18 of the 27 Dioceses in the East African nation.


Fr. Mwove said that the primary duty of those attending the meeting that concluded on Wednesday, April 17 is to plan for the convention scheduled to take place at Subukia National Marian Shrine in the country’s Catholic Diocese of Nakuru.

 “We are targeting all the young people across the church or the apostolate including the students and even those outside the school,” the priest said.

“We also want them to familiarize themselves with visiting these holy places and grounds in the country,” he said referring to the November 30 convention whose theme is drawn from Isaiah 40:31: “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.”

Credit: ACI Africa

“So many young people have lost hope in life but after the explanations, the experiences, and the talks given during the convention day these young people are expected to go and live the moments of the WYD”, he said.

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Speaking to ACI Africa, Fr. George Otieno Opiyo, the youth chaplain of Kenya’s Kisumu Metropolitan See said the planned convention will create more awareness among young people about the Subukia Shrine.

On her part, the Youth moderator for Kenya’s military ordinariate told ACI Africa that her group is ready to participate in the convention.

“The venue for the November convention will help me to move closer to the Blessed Virgin Mary,” Ms. Esther Nyagoa said.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.