by Allen Ottaro
More than 4,000 young Catholics from Southern Africa took part in the second Mini World Youth Day hosted by the Archdiocese of Durban, December 6-10. The gathering, organized by the Department of Laity and Youth Ministry of the Southern Africa Conference of Catholic Bishops (SACBC) and the Durban Youth Ministry Cluster, brought together young people from South Africa, Botswana, and Swaziland. These countries constitute the SACBC region, but the event will also saw the participation of young people from as far as Malawi, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Namibia, and Mozambique, making the event a contender for the largest-ever Catholic youth gathering on the African continent.
“In a very short time, families are going to start noticing differences in their kids,” Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier, OFM, archbishop of Durban, told local media, adding that “they could not be near three-and-a-half thousand people, exchanging meetings, talking to each other, seeing different points of view…and not be affected by that.” The event took its theme from Pope Francis’ message for the 32nd World Youth Day: “The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name” (Luke 1:49).
In an interview before the Mini WYD, Bishop José Luis Ponce de Leon, IMC of the Catholic Diocese of Manzini, in Swaziland, highlighted the significance of the Mini WYD for the young people and the Church in the region.
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