World Youth Day: Anticipation and Excitement

As the much-anticipated World Youth Day approaches, the Catholic Church is gearing up for an incredible celebration of faith, love, and unity. From the 2nd to the 6th of August, Lisbon will be a vibrant gathering, which will gather young people from all corners of the world. Inspired by the theme “Mary rose up and went with haste” from Luke 1:39, these special days will undoubtedly leave an indelible mark on the hearts of many, especially our young brothers and sisters from Africa.

For young people in Africa, this special event presents a unique opportunity to strengthen their connection with their faith, their fellow believers, and the global Catholic community. It’s a call to rise and embrace hope, just as Mary did when she hurried to visit her cousin Elizabeth. The message rings loud and clear: let us all rise up and seize the chance to unite as one, regardless of our backgrounds, cultures, or languages.

World Youth Day in Lisbon will be a time of prayer, reflection, and celebration. Young Catholics from Africa, alongside their peers from around the world, will come together to share their stories, experiences, and dreams. It is a chance for them to discover the beauty of diversity, recognizing that though we may be from different lands, we share the same love for God and our Catholic faith.

Our African youths have much to offer during these special days. Their vibrant spirit, devotion, and deep-rooted traditions can enrich the global Catholic community. They can share the stories of their ancestors’ faith journeys and the strength they find in their daily lives. Moreover, they can bring their unique perspectives on issues like social justice, environmental stewardship, and community development, thus fostering a deeper understanding of these challenges across the world.

As one of them and a young Priest myself, originally from Congo and going now to work in Uganda, I am filled with anticipation and excitement about World Youth Day. I believe this gathering will serve as a source of inspiration for the youth in Africa, empowering them to take an active role in shaping the future of the Church and their communities.

To participate in these special days, I encourage African youth to connect with their local dioceses or Catholic communities, who may be organizing pilgrimages to Lisbon. Engaging in pre-event activities, such as prayer groups, discussions on the theme, and fundraising initiatives, will create a strong sense of unity and purpose among the youth.

Additionally, for those unable to travel to Lisbon physically, virtual participation will be available, ensuring that the spirit of World Youth Day reaches every corner of Africa and beyond. Social media platforms, live streaming, and online forums will enable young Catholics to share their experiences, insights, and prayers with the global community.

In conclusion, World Youth Day 2023 in Lisbon is a sacred occasion for young Catholics worldwide, including the youth of Africa, to come together as one family under the guidance of Mary’s haste. It is an invitation to rise, unite, and embark on a journey of faith and love. Let us eagerly await these special days, cherishing the unique role Africa plays in our Church’s global tapestry. May the grace and joy of World Youth Day resonate in our hearts, inspiring us to be beacons of hope and love in a world that yearns for unity and peace.

Placide Elia Batondobi MHM

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