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By Chanda Mulenga, Youth Animator, Diocese of Monze, Zambia
Posted June 21st 2019
Chanda with Pope Francis Sr Mercy Ani with the youth animators
To attend the pre-Synodal meeting in Roma, to share experiences with young people from round the world, to contribute our ideas to the Bishops’ Synod on youth, to be listened to: this is an awesome experience in any young person’s life. And then, to receive back from Pope Francis his response to all we had to say, to read his inspiring message to youth of the world, now in 2019, and hear him say to us, Christ is Alive, my dear young people, go out and spread the news, and know that he is with you always, right to the end of the world.
Pope Francis’ exhortation to young people:
“Christ is alive! He is our hope, and in a wonderful way he brings youth to our world, and everything he touches becomes young, new, full of life. The very first words, then, that I would like to say to every young Christian are these: Christ is alive and he wants you to be alive!”
Given on the 25th of March, on the Solemnity of the Annunciation, the exhortation has nine chapters, which are outlined as follows:
Introduction: Christ is alive!
Chapter One: What does the word of God have to say to young people?
Chapter Two: Jesus, ever young
Chapter Three: You are the “now” of God
Chapter Four: A great message for all young people
Chapter Five: Paths of Youth
Chapter Six: Young people with roots
Chapter Seven: Youth Ministry
Chapter Eight: Vocation
Chapter Nine: Discernment
The exhortation ends with the Pope’s wish for young people:
“Dear young people, my joyful hope is to see you keep running the race before you, outstripping all those who are slow or fearful. Keep running, “attracted by the face of Christ, whom we love so much, whom we adore in the Holy Eucharist and acknowledge in the flesh of our suffering brothers and sisters. May the Holy Spirit urge you on as you run this race. The Church needs your momentum, your intuitions, your faith. We need them! And when you arrive where we have not yet reached, have the patience to wait for us”.
Nakambala parish youth group. Nakambala female youth Small group feed-back session
Here in Monze we, the youth animators, wasted no time. We came together to study the “Christus Vivit,” we took it to heart and planned how we would bring it to our young people throughout the Diocese.The 299 points of the nine chapter book are all very useful but after series of preparations, we decided to prioritize them according to our realities. At the invitation from the parishes we visit to give the inputs and workshops. We concentrated on Chapters one, four and five.
You are infinitely loved,
God who is love,
God who saves us and
God who is alive
In the power of the Holy Spirit, we become committed youth and courageous missionaries/ witnesses of Jesus Christ to everyone and at all places, especially to other young people. The reality of the Digital environment holds a strong attraction for many youth in the urban parishes but we must open their eyes to a wider world. I feel passionate about this. We must do justice to both its positive and negative aspects.
Chivuna parish feedback session Singing in Chivuna!
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The implementation of the Post Synod Document on the Youth is a lifelong one. We will continue to use it for the faith formation of the young people in our Diocese. To God be the glory.
By Chanda Mulenga. Monze Diocesan Youth Animator Secretary.