Darius Kamenye – Rundu, Namibia
Rundu is a beautiful, small and quiet northern Namibian town. It is a border town between Namibia and Angola and sits on the banks of the Kavango River. Often described as the inevitable stopping point when travelling in the region, Rundu has a unique and contrasting landscape from the familiar yellow sand dunes and wide-open spaces of Namibia. Thanks to the Kavango river, Rundu’s green fields and trees spring as if from nowhere.
And so it came to pass that after endless efforts of preparation, that included fundraising initiatives and logistics, the day finally came for the Rundu Catholic Vicariate to host the Namibian Youth Day (NYD) 2019. It was a much anticipated historic event for Catholics in Rundu.
All the country’s Bishops were in attendance
Young people travelled from all parts of Namibia to be in Rundu. The Opening Mass was by the Bishop of Rundu, Joseph Shikongo OMI alongside his brother Bishops, Christiaans Willem OSFS (Keetmanshoop) and the Archbishop of Windhoek, Liborius Nashenda, OMI. It was a rare occurrence in Rundu that all three bishops would be present at a Eucharistic celebration.
The young pilgrims gathered at Rundu’ St. Mary’s Cathedral in their colourful pilgrim attire. The atmosphere was teeming with what some referred to as “holy noise.” In effect that translates to mean lots of singing and dancing as the young persons waited for the start of intense days ahead. In his message, during the Opening Mass, Bishop Shikongo emphasised on love, where he said everything that is done without love is done in vain.
Some delegates share their experiences of Panama WYD 2019
Most of the NYD’s big events took place at the Rundu Sports Stadium. It was also at the stadium where the young pilgrims were officially welcomed by the local civic authorities. Mrs Victoria Kauma officiated at the welcome ceremony, on behalf of the Kavango East region Governor.
Among the highlights of the NYD 2019 was the sharing by a group of delegates consisting of a priest, religious sister and some young people who attended the World Youth Day events of Panama in January this year.
Prayer, cultural performances and Catechesis
Under the theme, “I am the handmaid of the Lord …,” (Luke 1:38) the NYD experience, in Rundu, was a mixture of various cultural performances and talent shows followed by serious spiritual activities and Catechetical teachings.
Young persons were divided into groups. Each group was then assigned a priest or Bishop who had been arranged to teach and guide the young pilgrims. The Catechism sessions gave chance to young people to ask questions about their Catholic faith. The Catechetical sessions concluded with Holy Mass at the respective venues.
After that, the young people, in procession, went to Kehemu parish where they had confessions.
Walking with Jesus.
What would an NYD programme be without the Way of the Cross?
Namibia’s young people eagerly participated in a 4 Kilometres Way of the Cross which started at Kehemu Parish to the Rundu Sports Stadium.
It was a moving experience to see a multitude of young persons enter the Rundu Sports Stadium in total silence. The Way of the Cross was followed by adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Later there was a Praise and Worship session that culminated in a candle-lighting ceremony.
'All is well that ends well,’ describes how the NYD 2019 concluded. At the final Mass, the announcement of the next Namibian Youth Day 2022 was made. The youth from Windhoek Archdiocese broke out into an outpouring of joy upon learning they would host the next NYD 2022.