World Youth Day 2023: Some of the young people from Cabo Verde. World Youth Day 2023: Some of the young people from Cabo Verde. 

Christ brought us together say African youth at the WYD 2023.

Africa's youth speak of the joy of meeting other young people from around the world. They say they also feel strengthened in their faith by the events of WYD 2023 and wish there were a worldwide network for Catholic youths.

Serge Zihalirwa Boroto, M.Afr. - Vatican City.

Fr Boniface-Jr Gbama, a Comboni missionary priest of the Democratic Republic of Congo, also in Lisbon, sent Vatican News some reactions that he collected from the youth of Africa. He said a number of them told him of their joy at being part of the events in Lisbon but some also felt more could have been done to encourage greater participation from Africa's youth.

Strong and untiring in faith

For a group of Cabo Verde youth in Lisbon, the experience was a spiritual coming together and learning about the reality of other nationalities and cultures - a true spiritual convivence.

A youth from the Gambia, originally from Guinee Bissau, participating in the World Youth Day events for the first time, said she felt very blessed to be in Lisbon.

Youth from Gambia with Fr Boniface
Youth from Gambia with Fr Boniface

 "I am delighted to be here, and I am also blessed. I feel the joy and togetherness. I am so happy that Christ brought us all together. As Christians, we are united by the body of Christ, and we have shared the love and the joy of seeing so many young people come out in great numbers -it is overwhelming!" she said.

She prays for God's unending grace to keep the youth of Africa and elsewhere strong and untiring in their faith.

A very unique experience

Sr Carolina of Uganda, who belongs to the Missionary Sisters of Saint Peter Claver, described her experience as the best, especially as a religious sister.

"Most youths here are under my age but full of the Spirit. It gives me hope for the future of our Church," she said. "We have lived together, enjoyed all activities as one, talking about our faith, sharing our hardships, and seeing the Pope together. It is a very unique experience," she added.

The Way of the Cross was a moving experience

Elisabeth Mwanza Tembo from Zambia, who works with young people from various universities, was touched by the Way of the Cross with the Pope and by the beauty of sharing faith with youth from different nationalities.

World Youth Day 2023: Delegates with the Zambian flag.
World Youth Day 2023: Delegates with the Zambian flag.

Elizabeth was also overjoyed to see Pope Francis at a close range.

"When we were welcoming the Pope, I actually saw him from a close view. I felt exceptional, that sense of peace and holiness. That is why he is called, Holy Father -you could feel the holiness," Elizabeth narrated.

Find space and voice within the Church

Elizabeth concludes by reminding young people that the Holy Spirit is still moving in the Catholic Church, and youth need to work together and make a worldwide network of Catholic youth.

Another young person, Mwape, a medical student at Zambia's Levy Mwanawasa hospital and learning institution, wants to see more young people love the Church, pray more and find their space and voice within the Catholic Church itself.

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06 August 2023, 13:31