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Synod 2018 — African youth struggle with poverty and broken families says bishop

During the mid-morning break at the Synod of Bishops in Rome Russell Pollitt SJ spoke to a South African bishop about his impressions of the Synod.

Bishop Mandla Jwara from the Vicariate of Ingwavuma is one of three South African bishops present at the gathering. Cardinal Wilfrid Napier and Bishop Stan Dziuba are also at the Synod.

Bishop Jwara heads up the mostly rural vicariate in the north-east of South Africa which borders eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) and Mozambique

He says that he has found the Synod very good and it has energised him. He wants to go home and start something new with young people because even though things are already happening he thinks that much more can be done.

The bishop says that although many concerns are the same across the world there are specific issues in the south that affect young people. He says that African youth do come to Church and that they relate well to the bishops. However, he sees two big issues: poverty and broken families. Bishop Jwara said that the whole question of unemployment hits African youth hard. He observes, at youth gatherings and diocesan pilgrimages, that young people often pray for employment. He is worried that when their prayers are not answered they soon feel dejected and wonder why they should bother going to Church

He says that the Synod has mentioned poverty in passing. Much more has been said about unemployment.

The bishop says that by the end of the Synod he hopes that all the bishops will return to their dioceses and pass on what they have received to local priests because they accompany youth. He says that he notices that often ministry to youth is done by chaplains and left to them, other priests do not really get involved.  He believes that every priest in every parish should be involved in ministering to young people.

Listen to the interview

Source: Vatican News

* The opinions expressed here by Spotlight.Africa contributors and editors are their own and not official statements of the Society of Jesus in South Africa or of the Catholic Church unless explicitly stated.