Dear People of God in the IMBISA Region and all People of Goodwill
We the Bishops of the IMBISA Region (Inter-Regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa) gathered for our 13th plenary assembly in Windhoek Namibia. There are 9 member countries which are Angola, Sao Tome and Principe, Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini, South Africa Zimbabwe. We gathered after most of our countries were affected by the COVID 19 Pandemic. As a region we continue to pray for all our departed brothers and sisters and we also continue to thank God for the protection during this pandemic.
We thank God for this opportunity to be able to gather and celebrate our collegiality and communion. It has been a great moment for us as bishops as we got to share experiences. For this Plenary to be a success we thank our funding partners who contributed so much without whom it would have been difficult for us to run this Plenary. In a special way we would like to express our profound gratitude to the Church in Namibia and the Government of the Republic of Namibia for the warm reception and all the services they gave to us during our Plenary. May the good Lord bless them.
The theme of our Plenary Assembly was Building forward together: Reimagining the Church’s Engagement with young people in the IMBISA region in the light of Pope Francis’ Exhortation, Christus Vivit. This theme has put our young people at the centre of our discussions. Hence we had sixteen delegates of the youths from our different countries in the IMBISA Region. As the bishops we were so much moved by their voices and we are grateful for their participation in this 13th Plenary Assembly. We had an opportunity to listen and ponder on the plight of our young people in the region. The dialogue with our youths was very fruitful. This platform was very useful as it allowed us to get to know what our young people are thinking and how best we can engage them in the mission of the Church.
As a response to our young people we are very clear that there is a need to LISTEN to the youth and also to journey with them in dialogue. As the bishops of IMBISA we have taken up this exhortation to journey with the young people, to give them platforms to express their views and to assist them in making structures that give them a more active participatory role in the mission of the Church. We support the establishment of youth structures at our regional level. These structures will assist in dealing with problems affecting them like drug abuse, unemployment and child marriages among other problems. We want to create an atmosphere where our youths are not only spectators in our Church but have a real experience with the Christ. We also call on the aid of our different governments to create employment and curb terrorism and create a peaceful environment for our youths. It is our hope that as Pope Francis writes in Christus Vivit, if we move together with our young people we go very far (Cf. ChV 167). As we depart from this Plenary assembly we look forward to a renewed Church that moves together and listens to the young people.
+Liborius Ndumbukuti Nashenda OMI
Archbishop of Windhoek, Namibia
President of IMBISA
26 September 2022