The Malawian BBI Cohort took part in Maula Deanery Youth Recollection by Fr Jean KESSE.

On November 1, 2022, Pope Francis had a virtual encounter with University Students from different parts of the continent. At that event that became the official inauguration of the Building Bridges Initiative, the Pope encouraged the youth to become the architects of their futures.

“Young people, says the Holy Father, have to be involved socially, politically, religiously, culturally and intellectually.” They must fight to protect their society from those threatening to destroy it. And this must begin today, not tomorrow, insists the holy father. But this involvement in the life of their Church requires that they be well-equipped both intellectually and spiritually to maintain a balance as they soar in the vast space of the planet.

Consequently, some Malawian BBI cohort members participated in Maula Deanery Youth Recollection to replenish their spiritual treasures. The spiritual exercise that took place on March 25th gathered more than 750 youths under the theme “May they all be one” (John 17:21). The recollection included several spiritual activities, starting with the Way of the Cross, followed by a Mass and lunch. 

To be faithful to the African holistic view of spirituality, the recollection did not stop with teachings and liturgical activities. The youth entertained themselves with different cultural and sports activities. 

Throughout the day, the speakers encouraged youth to reflect on the importance of unity in their lives and in the world around them. The Way of the Cross helped them meditate on Jesus’ sacrifice and his love for all of humanity. It was also their way of spiritually preparing themselves to work for their future and all the youths on the continent. This brings to mind the words of the pope to the participants of the virtual encounter:  

“Please continue working, striving for your future; don’t allow yourselves to be enslaved; be cautious and make sure you stay alive,”

During Mass, the youth prayed together and received the Eucharist, strengthening their connection with God and each other. The theme “May they all be one” from John 17:21 reminded them of Jesus’ call for unity among his followers and encouraged them to strive for peace and understanding in their relationships with others. The entertainment also had a spiritual component, with music and performances that uplifted and inspired the youth to live out their faith with joy and enthusiasm. The recollection provided a meaningful and transformative experience for all who participated.

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The Pan-African Catholic Theology and Pastoral Network is committed to the idea that a better Church and society is possible in Africa. Their approach involves adopting new perspectives and working, innovatively, to effect positive change. By addressing the challenges and opportunities presented by the expansion of Christianity in Africa, they strive to make a meaningful impact on both the Church and African society.

Pan-African Catholic Theology and Pastoral Network: A Better Church and Society is Possible in Africa

The Pan-African Catholic Theology and Pastoral Network (PACTPAN) is a group of African scholars and pastoral agents who work in the Catholic tradition. They aim to create a better Church and society in Africa by engaging with the challenges and opportunities of Christian expansion in the continent. They do this by thinking differently and working collaboratively in new ways every day.

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