2018 has been a great year for the Universal Church as it witnessed the Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment. From the onset, it was clear that this would be a different type of Synod as the Holy Father expressed his wish to listen to young people so that the Synod does not just listen to the voices of Bishops. As such, its preparation was clearly marked by listening, including the preparations of the Instrumentum Laboris itself, the Pre-Synod Youth Meeting which took place in March 2018 in the presence of the Holy Father and some young people as well as the presence and presentations of the young people during the Assembly in October. It was truly a wonderful moment to be in the Synod Hall together with so many young people from all over the world. It gave meaning also to the energy and vitality of the Church which at times has been seemingly stymied.
On our part, in the IMBISA Region, we have also attempted to give voice to the young people. As part of our preparations for the Synod of Bishops we held our own Pre-Synod Meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa in July 2018. Among those present at the meeting included the young people themselves as well as the Youth Chaplains from the Episcopal Conferences in IMBISA and the Bishops who were to attend the October Assembly in Rome. The aim of the meeting was to listen to the joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the young people of our time. It enabled the Bishops who would eventually attend the meeting in Rome to have some perspective on the experiences of the young people of our Region.
As it has become important for the pastors of the Church to listen, this booklet contains some of the stories of the young people in our Region. We are called upon to listen to them with understanding and patience. On occasion they don’t get things right. Yet, we have to profit from their energy and guide them correctly on the path of life. Christ wants us as Bishops to be particularly close to young people and teach them the truth. “People were bringing their little children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples scolded them for this. When Jesus noticed it, he was very angry and said, ‘Let the children come to me and don’t stop them, for the kingdom
of God belongs to such as these. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it’? Then he took the children in his arms and laying his hands on them, blessed them” (Mk. 10:13-16).
+ Joseph Sephamola OMI Bishop of Qacha’s Neck
+Ernesto Maguengue Auxiliary Bishop of Nampula