, 01 February, 2020 / 4:45 AM
As youths around the world prepare for the next World Youth Day to be held in Portugal in 2022, Church leaders in Botswana, Eswatini, and South Africa have “approved in principle” the plan to have a Mini World Youth Day (MWYD) proposed for December 2020 in Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa.
In a statement signed by the Liaison Bishop for Youth in the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC), Stanisław Jan Dziuba and SACBC Youth Chaplain, Fr. Mthembeni Dlamini, the leaders indicate that the event was approved by the Bishops during their ongoing Plenary Assembly.
“The bishops at the Plenary 2020 on the 25th January approved in principle the proposal by the Department for Formation, Life and Apostolate of the Laity – Youth Office to have another Mini World Youth Day,” the statement availed to ACI Africa reads in part.
“We are grateful to the Bishops of the SACBC for granting another chance for this Pilgrimage to take place. We are mandated to start direct preparations,” the two Church leaders spearheading MWYD note and add in their collective statement, “This is an opportunity for us to come and put into practice the words of Jesus when he commanded us to Love one another.”
The leaders stipulate, in their January 28 statement, five goals of the nine-day event set to begin on December 5.
The gathering, which will see young people from the three countries of SACBC engage in a variety of activities is “an expression of the universal Church,” the leaders behind MWYD have stated.
The envisaged encounters among the youth and the input from those who will facilitate activities around MWYD gives the event the goal of being “an instrument of evangelization in the world of youth.”
The very large numbers of the young people that will characterize MWYD and the dynamic energies of the participants is being looked as a manifestation of a progressive church,” a goal the conveners are terming “an epiphany of a youthful church.”
With the goal of being “an effective sign of ecclesial communion,” the organizers are envisaging the gathering of young people from a variety of “cultures and races.”
Finally, the event has the goal of being a “a faith pilgrimage” justified by spiritual activities during the nine days including the sharing of experiences in parishes and families.
It is envisaged that before gathering in South Africa’s Archdiocese of Pretoria, participants in MWYD will spend “Days in Parishes” (DIP) from December 5-9, hosted in families, parish houses, convents, monasteries and religious houses.
Archdiocese of Johannesburg, Diocese of Witbank, and Diocese of Bethlehem, all in South Africa have agreed to host MWYD participants during the DIP.
Thanking the various dioceses “for their willingness to host the Pilgrimage and its preliminary activities,” Bishop Dziuba and Fr. Dlamini have invited “all Youth and Young Adults of our Conference area and beyond, together with the Bishops, Clergy, Religious, Mentors and Coordinators to join this Pilgrimage.”
“We would like to encourage all communities to send young people in numbers to this Pilgrimage,” the Church leaders have said in their one-page collective statement.
The previous MWYD, which brought together over 1000 youths was held in South Africa’s Archdiocese of Durban in December 2017 under the theme “The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is His Name,” derived from the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Magnificat in Luke 1:49. Among the participants were youth from the three countries of SACBC as well as youth from Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
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