Since I became bishop of Manzini we had been trying to plan a gathering of our Catholic Tertiary Students in Swaziland. For one reason or another we were not able to find the day for me to be with them. It finally happened last Saturday. Catholic students from the different camps in the country gathered at UNISWA (University of Swaziland), Kwaluseni camp.
We started with the celebration of the Mass thanking God for the different calls each one of them has received and giving a special blessing to those who graduated this year. I'd say, it was not just a blessing but they were sent to the world and be Jesus' disciples:
"As they step forward into the world that awaits,
comfort their fears with the full knowledge of your divine presence.
Strengthen their resolve to walk in the footsteps of Jesus
as modern-day disciples in a world that needs their spirit."
The photo above was taken last year. They gathered at the Cathedral but I could not join them for Mass as we were having the meeting of the Diocesan Pastoral Committee. Being across the road at least I was able to be with them for a few minutes and have a photo together.
After the celebration of the Mass (and the photos, of course!) we all gathered outside for a "Q&A" session. Anything they wanted to ask...! It lasted for about an hour and we only stopped because... we were hungry!
Questions covered all sorts of things: ordination of women, scholarship for tertiary students, how Catholics see alcohol and drugs, when Blessed Benedict Daswa will become a saint, "stole fees" in our parishes... It was indeed a great opportunity to deepen their faith. Unfortunately it was limited to asking a question and... the bishop responding. There was no time for them to comment. Maybe next time we will.
Lunch had been ready for a long time and had been prepared by them (hotdogs, fries, biscuits and juice) but not before presenting some beautiful gifts to the bishop!