, 28 June, 2020 / 8:00 PM
Youth in the South Sudan Archdiocese of Juba who attended a two-day conference that was centered on liturgy among other teachings of the Church have, at the end of the meeting, been urged to take up their position in the Church where they are the future.
Some 40 young people drawn from different parishes in the Archdiocese took part in the workshop. The number would have been much bigger were it not for the outbreak of COVID-19 and the resulting restrictions and safety measures.
“Liturgy is one of the most important aspects of our life as Christians, because it is the center of our life; without liturgy, there is no life,” Archbishop Stephen Ameyu of Juba Archdiocese told the young people who attended the June 25-26 workshop.
He added, “Without young people in the Church, there would be no hope in the Church also because you are our future hope.”
The Archdiocesan Youth Coordinator Dr. Simon Gore Agostino told ACI Africa that the workshop was organized to boost spiritual activities within the Archdiocese and to help young people remain connected during the pandemic.
“Coronavirus disease has set us apart in ways that we never imagined,” Dr. Gore told ACI Africa and added, “We have started with this small number of young people to give them the importance of liturgy in our parishes.”
According to the youth Coordinator, the event brought together young people from ten parishes and members from the office of Young Christian students who were to, in turn, invent avenues to disseminate the teachings they acquired to their group members back in their respective parishes.
“We took two secretaries for liturgy and the deputies and the secretary of the youth office because they are the main Centre in the parishes and that is why we couched them so that they are able to guide their young ones in the parishes,” Dr. Gore said.
Topics addressed by Priests and Religious Sisters who took charge of different sessions of the seminar included the different types of vocations, Sacraments in the Catholic Church, issues pertaining sexuality as well as liturgy and the roles of Christians in different parts of liturgy.
Gore said that presenters at the youth workshop also elaborated on the Liturgy of the Word, saying that some Christians are not always “deep in the scriptures.”
“It is important that the youth use this time to discover the importance of the scripture in their life and in their role in the Church,” said Dr. Gore.
The youth coordinator underscored the importance of including sexuality topics in the workshop, noting that it is young people in the East-Central African country who are at the centre of social evils such as rape and sexual violence.
“We thought it is important to cover the teachings on sexuality in the Catholic way so that the youth protect their brothers and sisters in the parishes and in protecting themselves,” he said.
“I learned from the young people that they have a lot of questions about their faith that they were not getting their answers,” Dr. Gore said, and added, “In this workshop, the youth were able to participate freely, asking questions that have been bothering them for a long time.”
Sharing lessons learned during the two-day workshop, Simon Kenyi Luis, a youth participant from Holy Trinity Parish in Juba, said the training equipped him with answers regarding the Catholic faith.
“I can now answer some complex questions pertaining Catholic faith, the questions we face from other Christian denominations,” said Simon Kenyi Luis who also added, “Before, I never knew something as basic as why a child must be baptized but now, I know.”
Reiterating the message of Pope Francis, Archbishop Ameyu said that Christ is alive through young people.
“You are called to holiness in your own life, whatever profession you choose, that is a very important thing for you; that is what will make you a holy man or woman,” the Archbishop of Juba who doubles as the Apostolic Administrator of South Sudan’s Torit Diocese said.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa