Kenyan Catholic Leader on How Youth-centric Pastoral Programs can Boost Evangelization

Tobias Nauruki, the Empowered Youth Coalition (EYC) Africa regional Coordinator. Credit: ACI Africa

Youth-centric pastoral programs can boost evangelization among young people who are dealing with a myriad of contemporary challenges, a Kenyan Catholic youth leader has said.

In his Friday, February 23 presentation at the just concluded Theological Symposium at the Kenya-based Tangaza University College (TUC), the Empowered Youth Coalition (EYC) Africa regional Coordinator, Tobias Nauruki, underlined the important role that young Catholics play in evangelization and proposed strategies to enhance youth-centric pastoral programs.

Tobias observed that in their attempt to evangelize their peers, however, the youths face obstacles such as secularism, technological distractions, as well as lack of proper spiritual formation. He said that in a secular and relativistic society, in particular, the youth often encounter challenges in conveying absolute truths and moral values.

To counter the challenges and boost evangelization among the youths, the official of the EYC, an arm of the Family Watch International proposed the development and implementation of pastoral programs that “specifically cater to the needs, interests, and concerns of young Catholics.”

The move, he said, could include interactive workshops, retreats, and mentorship initiatives designed to address contemporary challenges and foster spiritual growth.


Organized by the Department of Dogmatic Theology at TUC’s School of Theology (SOT) under the theme, “Make Disciples of all Nations: The Missionary Mandate of Christ… in the Religious, Cultural, and Social context of Africa Today”, the two-day symposium that started on Thursday, February 22 aimed to cover a series of topics, including religious fundamentalism, the challenge of secularism, family, and young people, among others. 

In his presentation titled, “Revitalizing Evangelization: The Role of Young Catholics as Protagonists among Peers”, Tobias described Catholic youths as “vital agents in spreading the message of evangelization.”

“In the contemporary context, where technology, globalization, and diverse worldviews shape the narrative, young people emerge as vital agents in spreading the message of evangelization,” he said.

The Kenyan scholar highlighted multiple ways to invigorate evangelization among Catholic youths, including the formulation of a comprehensive strategy for digital outreach, utilizing social media platforms, podcasts, and online resources to connect with the youth.

He also suggested the training for young evangelists on responsible and effective use of technology for spreading the Gospel.

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Tobias also proposed the incorporation of contemporary themes in catechesis. This, he said, could involve addressing real-world issues that young Catholics face, including mental health, social justice, and environmental stewardship within the context of the Catholic tradition.

Tobias made an appeal to Church leaders to emphasize the formation of critical thinkers, who he said could articulate and defend their faith in diverse contexts.

He also highlighted the need to implement leadership development programs that empower young Catholics to take on active roles within the Church and society, saying, “This could involve training in public speaking, community organizing, and pastoral leadership.”

The Coordinator of the EYC called for the promotion of interfaith dialogue, which he said is necessary in equipping young Catholics with skills to engage in respectful conversations with people of other faiths.

He called for continued training of parents and spiritual leaders to effectively guide and support the youth, as well as the facilitation of community-based service projects that he said could allow young Catholics to actively live out their faith through acts of charity and justice.


“This hands-on approach can deepen their connection to the Gospel's call to love and serve others,” he said.

Tobias suggested social media and small group Bible study groups as some of the platforms that young Catholics can use to foster evangelization among their peers.

“Utilizing the power of social media platforms, young Catholics can engage their peers in discussions about faith and spirituality,” he said, and emphasized the need for “responsible use of digital tools for spreading the Gospel” as outlined in Pope Francis' message for World Communications Day and "The Church and Internet", the February 2002 publication of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

He said that platforms like Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube can serve as spaces for sharing personal faith journeys, reflections, and inspirational content.

On coming together for Bible study and faith sharing, he said, “Creating small group environments for Bible studies and faith sharing allows young Catholics to connect with their peers on a personal level.”

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Young Catholics can also organize and participate in peer-led retreats and spiritual encounters, he further said, adding that such events provide opportunities for reflection, prayer, and communal worship.

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.