Thirty youths from the Mutare Roman Catholic Diocese are bound for
Lisbon, Portugal, to attend the World Youth Day (WYD) celebrations, penciled
The WYD is held every three years on a rotational basis in different parts of the
world, and the Pope often attends to interact with the youths.
Initiated by the late Pope John Paul 11 in 1984, the last celebrations were held
in Panama City, Panama, South America.
Against the background of a deepening teenage drug abuse crisis in the country,
delegates for the WYD said they hoped the celebrations will draw them closer
to God, grow their faith, and pull them away from harmful youth indulgences,
including intake of illicit drugs.
In an interview with Pungwe News, Diocesan youths and young adults director,
Father Taurai Nyambiti, said the pilgrimage was also an opportunity for the
youths to experience the universality of the Catholic Church, and expose them
to various cultures of the world.
Participants in the WYD will be drawn from all over the world.
“This is the second time we are sending a big delegation like this, and it is an
honour for our youths to meet other Catholics from all over the world. This is a
chance for them to experience the universality of the Catholic Church, to
deepen their faith and grow closer to Christ. The youth today face a lot of things
going on around us that distract us from having a relationship with God and
focusing on what is truly important in our lives,” Fr Nyambiti said.
He said through the WYD, the youths will learn to create Christ-centered youth
programs, events, and activities in their parishes, diverting their attention away
from wayward activities such as drug and toxic substance abuse.
“Drug and substance abuse has been a topical issue and I believe such
pilgrimage will help youths appreciate the different backgrounds, cultures and
situations their fellow youths are found in for them to better learn to create
youth centered programs and activities back home,” he added.
Fr. Nyambiti also highlighted how the church had committed to incorporating
drug abuse awareness in all their youth-centered activities and meetings as a
means to continuously sensitize youths on the adverse effects of such
“The youths will always try to be defiant and deviant in their ways especially
when they group together. However, as a church, we have committed ourselves
to tightening the screws on such behaviours. We also believe that drug abuse
issues need to be approached from a spiritual and psychological angle and as
such we have made it a point we invite psychologists and health experts over
whenever we meet with our youths,” he said.
The Diocese recently held a fundraising dinner for the trip to Portugal for the
youths, officiated by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga.