IMBISA Plenary Assembly opens in Windhoek, Namibia.
IMBISA’s opening ceremonies held at the Windhoek’ Safari hotel began with the singing of the national anthems of Namibia and the African Union (AU).
Archbishop Liborius Ndumbukuti Nashenda OMI, of the Archdiocese of Windhoek, Namibia, welcomed the Bishop delegates to the Plenary. The Archbishop also welcomed in a special way young people from the countries of the IMBISA Region. IMBISA comprises member episcopal conferences of Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, São Tomé e Princip, South Africa, eSwatini and Zimbabwe.
A fraternity of Bishops
In his welcome remarks, Archbishop Nashenda spoke about the journey traversed by Church in Namibia since the last 1995 IMBISA meeting held in the country.
The current IMBISA President, Bishop Lucio Andrice Muandula, of the Diocese of Xai-Xai in Mozambique, officially opened the plenary and also welcomed to the Bishops’ fraternity, prelates of the regional group, appointed in the last three years.
Archbishop Peter Bryan Wells, the Apostolic Nuncio to South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and eSwatini extended the Holy Father Pope Francis’ warm greetings to all the delegates of the XIII IMBISA Plenary. He also made reference the Pope’s invitation to Synodality.
A warm welcome to Nambia
Namibia’s civil authorities were also present at the opening ceremonies. The country’s Vice-President, Dr. Nangolo Mbumba, in his speech, thanked the Catholic Church for the support given during the liberation struggle for independence. He wished the Bishops a pleasant stay in the Republic of Namibia.
The Holy See’s Representative of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop (USCCB), The Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) among others were given time to make solidarity statements to the Bishops gathered.
A Church freed from growing old
Accroding to one of the presenters at the IMBISA plenary, Dr James Nyawo, the IMBISA Bishops will revisit Pope Francis’ Post-Synodal Exhortation to Young People and to the entire people of God -"Christus vivit." The document is the fruit of the last Ordinary Synod of Bishops on "Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment" held at the Vatican in October 2018.
The Church, says Dr Nyawo, would do well to pay attention when Pope Francis speaks of the youthfulness of the Church: “Let us ask the Lord to free the Church from those who would make her grow old, encase her in the past, hold her back or keep her at a standstill,” writes Pope Francis in Christus Vivit.
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