Use Your Energy, Vibe to “re-energize church life”: Catholic Official to Youths in Southern Africa

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On the occasion of the National Youth Day celebrated annually on June 16 in South Africa, the Chaplain of the Interdiocesan Youth and Young Adults Ministry of the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference (SACBC), Fr Motankane Mahlako, has urged young people to use their energy to “re-energize Church life” in the region.

Youth Day, as it is commonly called, is a day for South Africans to commemorate the young people who were attacked by the apartheid regime police in Soweto on 16 June 1976, during which over 500 youths reportedly lost their lives.

As a result, the youth of 1976 are regarded as having contributed significantly to the struggle against the inequality and oppression of apartheid. After the establishment of democracy in 1994, the new democratic government designated June 16 as National Youth Day and the entire month of June as Youth Month.

In his message to the youths that ACI Africa obtained Tuesday, June 18, Fr. Mahlako says the month of June in general and June 16 in particular call for reflection, recollection, and restructuring of the mind, heart, and soul of the youths in the contemporary world.

“Your energy and vibe should re-energize the Church's life in your time,” he challenges young people that was released on June 14, and adds, “This month in particular, should help us to reflect on our lives as Christians in the family, community, and church.”


Referring to Chapter II of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of the Holy Father to young people and the entire people of God, Christus Vivit, the Chaplain of the Youth and Young Adults in the three countries of Botswana, Eswatini, and South Africa urges the youths to emulate the young Jesus and consecrate their lives to God.

Christus Vivit, the South African Catholic Priest says in his one-page message dated June 1, “affirms how youth can and, in many ways, bring new perspectives to their fellow youth, following the example of Christ who gave up his spirit on the Cross for a good cause.”

Marked on June 16, Youth Day in South Africa was celebrated under the theme; “Accelerating youth economic emancipation for a sustainable future”.

According to the country’s Department of sports, Art and Culture, the South African government has, under the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention, initiated various youth development and empowerment initiatives to support young people.

The initiatives reportedly “range from formal education and training; leadership and internships as well as support for youth entrepreneurship” and seek to “provide the necessary support for young people to take on their challenges and win.”

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In his message, Fr. Mahlako says that the month of June should spur youths in South Africa to redefine the purpose of their existence as young people.

“Different from 1976 youth challenges, we are faced with challenges in the families, communities, and the church which require youth formed and modeled by the Gospel values,” the SACBC’s Youth and Young Adults Chaplain says.

He adds, “Let us find renewed moral values. Let us take a moment to refine our thoughts towards attaining mindfulness in every manner of existence, to attain spiritual maturity that is accompanied by emotional intelligence.”

“Let this month reawaken within us the zeal for mission, and evangelizers of true gospel,” Fr. Mahlako says in his message released on June 14.

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.