Southern Africa’s third Mini World Youth Day will be held in Pretoria from December 9-13, with the formal approval of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC).
The last Mini World Youth Day (MWYD) was held in Durban in December 2017. More than 1000 young people from South Africa, Botswana and eSwatini attended.
“We are grateful to the bishops of the SACBC for granting another chance for this pilgrimage to take place,” said SACBC youth chaplain Fr Mthembeni Dlamini CMM.
“We invite all youth and young adults of our conference area and beyond, together with the bishops, clergy, religious, mentors and coordinators to join this pilgrimage.”
There is much the pilgrims will learn from the gathering, Fr Dlamini said.
“It’s important for young people to participate in the pilgrimage, to learn about their faith, to build cultural, racial and tribal bridges, and to make practical the universality of the Church,” Fr Dlamini told The Southern Cross.
He appealed to all parishes and dioceses to encourage young people to attend as they are expecting 7000 or more young people in Pretoria in December.
The youth chaplain encouraged each diocese to aim at sending a minimum of 250 people.
“It’s interesting that when it comes to young people’s formation, we always see it as an expense, [but] when adults travel overseas for pilgrimages, we see it as a necessity,” Fr Dlamini noted.
“Young people’s formation is as important and urgent as our formation as adults. This pilgrimage gives a special type of formation in a unique environment where young people are by themselves to learn from their bishops and from each other,” he said.
Before the participants gather in the archdiocese of Pretoria in December, they have an opportunity to take part in the “Days in the Parishes” from December 5-9 when they will be hosted by families, parish houses, convents and monasteries, or religious houses.
The archdiocese of Johannesburg and the dioceses of Witbank and Bethlehem have agreed to host MWYD participants during those days. Others are still to be confirmed.
The Days in the Parishes concept is inspired by the Days in the Dioceses which precede the international World Youth Days.
In a statement signed by the SACBC liaison bishop for youth Bishop Stanislaw Dziuba and Fr Dlamini, five important goals for MWYD were identified:.
– It is an expression of the universal Church. All Catholics are to play a role.
– It is an instrument of evangelisation in the world of youth.
– It is an “epiphany” of a youthful Church—a dynamic energy.
– It is an effective sign of ecclesial communion, bringing all cultures and races together.
– It is a faith pilgrimage, in the spiritual and practical aspect
Registration, transport, funding
Registration details for MWYD 2020 will be issued in early March. Dioceses are asked to set up diocesan coordination teams and send their names and contact details.
“If parishes would start now fundraising and having payment plans in place, it won’t be difficult to send young people in December,” Fr Dlamini said.
“Young people, on the other hand, should also contribute from their savings—they have to learn to take responsibility for their own faith,” he said.
Regarding transport to Pretoria, Fr Dlamini said groups often book buses and they have to pay for them as they park before taking them home. He suggested groups use community buses to travel to and from Pretoria since the venue will not be far from Bosman Station, thereby reducing travel costs.
“Buses are able to negotiate with the client if you intend to fill up the bus, and they will have a bus just for your group, so you don’t have to pay for other days you are not using it,” he advised.
“The organising team is planning to have buses to transport pilgrims to their residences, places of catechesis and main venue,” he added.