, 19 February, 2020 / 2:36 AM
At the national gathering of young people organized by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Liberia (CABICOL) with the support of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Pope Francis invited participants to be more generous in their response to the Gospel message as they discern God’s plans for their respective lives.
“His Holiness prays that this occasion will encourage the young people of the country to become more generous in their response to the Gospel and their discernment of God’s plan for their lives,” reads in part the Holy Father’s message addressed to the young people of Liberia following their five-day event in the country’s capital, Monrovia, that concluded Sunday, February 16.
Signed by the Secretary of State Pietro Cardinal Parolin, the Holy Father challenges young Liberians as he did the young Catholics at World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland saying, “the times we live in do not call for young “couch potatoes” but for young people with shoes, or better, boots laced … active players on the field ... There is no room for those who sit on the bench.”
The message was read out to the young people by the Secretary General of CABICOL, Fr. Dennis Cephas Nimene.
In the message, the Holy Father underlined the need for young people to be active saying, “In this way, through their faithful witness to the Gospel, they will contribute to the growth of God’s kingdom of reconciliation and peace in Liberia.”
Speaking to ACI Africa, Fr. Nimene emphasized the Holy Father’s attachment to young people and their role in today’s Church and cited the Pontiff, “the digital environment is the new public square where young people spend much of their time and meet one another...but it is also a place of loneliness, manipulation, exploitation and violence, even to the extreme cases "dark web"- cyber bullying.”
According to Fr. Nimene, the young people who were commissioned to be ambassadors of peace and reconciliation at the end of the five-day national meeting “are expected to help promote the culture of peace and reconciliation” in the post-war West African country “still struggling to reconcile.”
On his part, the National Director of Justice, Peace and Caritas, Fr. McDonald Nah, presented to young people of Liberia the Pope’s encyclical Laudato Si on care of our common home.
“The best way to be messengers of peace and reconciliation in post war Liberia is first and foremost to protect the environment,” Fr. Nah told the estimated 300 Catholic youths during the event also attended by priests, religious and groups of lay people.
The young people gathered at Monrovia Vocational Training Center (MVTC) to study, celebrate and live the Post Synodal Exhortation Christus Vivit under the theme, “Christus Vivit: Young People as Messengers of Peace and Reconciliation.”
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