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“Build a world of peace devoid of violence, corruption”: Archbishop in Cameroon to Youth

Archbishop Samuel Kleda of Cameroon's Douala Archdiocese addressing young people during the Diocesan Youth Day on 19 June 2021. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The Archbishop of Cameroon’s Douala Archdiocese has called upon young people in the Central African nation to cultivate peace in their respective communities, and cautioned them against engaging in violence and corruption.

In his homily during the annual Diocesan Youth Day Mass celebrated Saturday, June 19, Archbishop Samuel Kleda said, “Violence and corruption cannot build a world of peace.”

“My dear young people, as Christ tells us, we are called to build a world of peace devoid of violence and corruption,” Archbishop Kleda added.

He urged the youth to “remain vigilant, listen and discern carefully the ideas they have to make our world peaceful. 

“We are invited to seek the truth of the Gospel. We must remain in God's plan for us, listen to his word. God has to take first place in our lives,” the Local Ordinary of Douala said during the Holy Mass he presided over at the courtyard of the Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral.

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Archbishop Kleda encouraged young people to “respond without hesitation to the Lord's call,” saying, “Entrusting your life to God is the true path, the way to happiness in order for you to succeed in life according to God's will.”

The Diocesan Youth Day is an annual gathering of young people from the 72 parishes of Douala Archdiocese. This year, the celebrations were held under the theme, “Welcome the poor as a beloved brother.”

Reflecting on the theme, Archbishop Kleda encouraged young people to show concern for the plight of their fellow brothers and sisters.

“We must think of each other, be ready to help each other. You have to open your doors to your friends, to your companions, to all those who suffer around you,” he said.

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The Cameroonian Archbishop urged young people to “work to transform our society, a society of justice and peace to give it another, more human face.” 

“Dear young people, be apostles of justice and peace. Christ loves you and has chosen you as his friends, love him and do his will,” Archbishop Kleda who was appointed to the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development as a member said.

Speaking to ACI Africa on the sidelines of the Archdiocesan event, the Youth Chaplain in Doula Archdiocese, Fr Christopher Geh Kum said, “Youths are subjected to a great deal of physical and psychological abuse of all kinds: sexual abuse, lack of follow-up for out-of-school children, early pregnancies, early marriages, unemployment, etc.”

“Indeed, morality no longer has a place in their hearts and in effect, so many deviations are observed in our society in perdition and especially in our schools,” Fr. Kum added.

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Faced with these challenges, the Cameroonian Priest told ACI Africa, “The Church offers youth paths to take for a dynamic and missionary witness to follow the young Jesus Christ.”

“I advise young people not to be seduced or deceived by the ideologies and false values of this world, which extinguish their faith. They need to be aware of the one-thought dictatorship dictated by people who impose their vices instead of constructive values; this is nothing more than a new form of colonization,” Fr. Kum told ACI Africa on the sidelines of the Diocesan Youth Day.

Making reference to Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter, Fratelli Tutti, the Diocesan Youth Chaplain said, “If someone makes you an offer and tells you to ignore history, to look only to the future that he is proposing to you, isn't that an easy way to trick you with his proposal so that you don't just do what he tells you? This person wants you empty, uprooted, suspicious of everything, so that you only trust his promises and that you submit to his plans.”

“Open the door of your minds and your hearts to the Church, you will find there the strength and the courage to overcome all difficulties and sufferings,” Fr. Kum said in reference to Pope emeritus Benedict XVI.

He invited young people not to let “other cultures steal their identities and values.”

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“It is time to change your mentality and behavior. Let yourself be moved by those who cry, touch the weak, volunteer for the little ones, the marginalized because that is where your happiness will be,” he further said.

“Let us ask Saint Joseph in this year dedicated to him to come to the aid of the youths in the world in general and of our country in particular so that they can be the salt of the earth and the light of the world to future generations,” Fr. Kum said during the June 19 interview with ACI Africa.