The joy of being young Catholic people

Taking advantage of the public holidays, our Catholic youth gathered at St Theresa's High School (Manzini) for four days. The diocesan youth committee kept me updated of the preparation of the event and asked me to join them on Saturday morning for the celebration of the Mass.

I was "delayed" on my way there (it is said a bishop is never late!) and found all of them already at the hall waiting for me. 

I must confess, it was really impressive to find more than 300 joyful young people at the hall. It is not a new event. Just that, year after year, the number keeps on increasing and one cannot but be grateful to God for their joy and energy!

In my homily I shared with them about a book called "Our joy of being Catholics" written in 2007 by Bp Hirmer (at that time, bishop of Mthatha in South Africa). I asked if they were indeed happy to Catholics. Of course they all said: "Yes!!!".

I wanted to know more so I asked that whoever wanted to do so, could join me at the microphone and tell us "why". It was not a problem for them. They easily stood up to witness to their faith. I was touched by one who said that "Sacraments, in the Catholic Church, are not a joke!" and another one who shared about being born Catholic, having joined another church and now being back as she realised this was the Church that could help her follow Jesus.

I felt it was an important point because, as one young person shared with me many years' ago, your church is your family and some seem not to have a sense of belonging to any. As if afraid of taking any type of commitment or seeing churches as supermarkets... "let me see what this one offers today... what they have on sale..."

It was also my opportunity to share with them about the place I expect them to take in our diocese; young people

  • that wants to know Jesus better and better. It is not something that ends with confirmation! I see it in my own life. Coming to know Jesus fully is a lifelong journey;
  • able to support each other following Jesus because the journey is not easy. We read in John 6 about those who decided not to follow Jesus anymore because his teaching was too much for them; It is not about Jesus making miracles in your lives. It is about you choosing to follow the way of fulness of life;
  • who know their church, love her, love being Catholics;
  • that share their gifts and lives. At Mater Dolorosa (Mbabane) the St Egidio youth  helps children with their homework once a week. At Our Lady of Assumption (Manzini) the youth led a passion play that touched the hearts of all those who attended it;
It is indeed a special time for the Church as Pope Francis called for a synod on youth and want to hear their voice. They should not keep quiet!

But all this can only happen only if they are happy to be Catholics and not just “no-name Christians” (like "no-name" products at supermarkets)

Click on the photo below for more photos of the event

2018_SZ_Diocesan Youth