Four thousand young and excited Catholics have descended on Durban for Mini World Youth Day (MWYD) from across South Africa, Swaziland, Botswana and Zimbabwe to connect spiritually, learn from each other and Church leadership, and celebrate their faith.
Thousands of young Catholics have descended on Durban for Mini World Youth Day (MWYD), a local version of the internationally renown World Youth Day. Hosted by parishes and families in the archdiocese, the aim of the gathering aims to enrich the spiritual lives of young Catholics, and to inspire this generation to be good citizens and leaders. “Seeing this multitude of young people together from different walks of life, united with heart and mind to appreciate the might deeds God has done in their own life,” said Fr Paul Tatu CSS, Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference communications officer.
The event provides a meeting point for Church leadership and the youth. Some of the youth have said the direct contact with the bishops has been exciting and encouraging, while the bishops recognise the importance of meeting with – and speaking to – young people from Southern Africa about issues of faith and their needs. The Mini World youth Day of this year is attended by all Southern Africa Catholic Bishops, said Tatu adding that it is ecumenical in nature as it graced by other representatives from different denominations who have been working closer with the Catholic Church.
“Being part of this event, one feels that the young people are the Church of today and they have a new culture of enriching their faith as Catholics,” said Tatu in a statement.
“[The youth] enjoy and appreciate their faith, but for a long time they were not understood. Through this event one realises the needs of young people and a different ways of how to reach young people at their own context.”
“Mini World Youth day is a space where we as young people have the opportunity to see the greatness of God’s work in and through the lives of our peers,” said Lerato Mohlokoana of the Association of Catholic Tertiary Students (ACTS) in the Eastern Cape.
For some participants, the highlight has been meeting other like-minded, yet diverse people from across the region. The event opened with participants dressed in traditional clothing – showing the great diversity of the Catholic Church in Southern Africa.
The first day ended with song and dance from participants and performers – a celebration of the Catholic faith. “Having young Catholics who are public figures is testament that nothing is impossible with God,” said Mohlokoana. “It really is a great time to be a young Catholic.” SA.
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