The AMECEA Pastoral Department held its first workshop in preparation for the Synod of Bishops on the Youth, at the Catholic Secretariat for the Episcopal Conference of Ethiopia. The workshop which was held from 11th to 12th of August 2017, brought together 30 participants. 25 of the participants were representatives of the youth from various youth movements across the country, while the other five were catholic families invited to hear challenges faced by the youth today. This is the first of the series of workshops planned to take place in the AMECEA countries.
The workshops are organised as a response to Pope Francis’ call to the church, indicating that, young people should play an active role in both the discussion and preparation for the next synod dedicated to the youth. The event is scheduled for October, 2018 in Rome.
“Through every phase of this Synod, the Church wants again to state her desire to encounter, accompany and care for every young person, without exception,” a preparatory document for the 2018 synod read.
The theme for the 2018, 15th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment,” was announced on October 6, 2016.
According to the preparatory document, in choosing this specific theme, the Church wants “to ask young people to help her in identifying the most effective ways to announce the Good News today.”
At the end of the workshop, the youth requested the church to reconsider seriously her formation strategy for the youth mostly in areas of Catechesis, Biblical Formation and general understanding of the Catholic Social Teaching. The youth indicated that this should be aimed at strengthening their faith and equipping them to respond adequately to the social and spiritual challenges they face on daily basis from the hostile society around them.
Speaking at the closure of the workshop, Episcopal Conference of Ethiopia (ECE) Secretary General Abba Hagos Hayish, thanked the AMECEA Pastoral Department for taking the initiative to visit the Conferences for this noble course. He indicated that, the issues raised by the youth were pertinent for the growth of the Church in Ethiopia. He thus promised to present them to the Ethiopian Bishops so that they can start addressing some of them as a Conference.
In conclusion the AMECEA team expressed gratitude to organizers of the workshop namely: Abba Hagos Hayish, Mr Abel Mussie from the ECE, Ms Pauline Wakibiru (The Administrative Secretary for the AMECEA Pastoral Department), Sr. Dr. Elizabeth Nduku (Lecturer at CUEA and Facilitator for the workshop), all the youth and parents who attended the workshop for their honest contributions.
It was the wish of the AMECEA Pastoral Department that the views of all the youth across the nation be presented and trust that through the open discussions and sharing great strides were made. The youth were further encouraged to be proactive in all youth groups and assume leadership roles in the church as soon as possible. All participants present were finally requested to walk the talk as the church prepares for the forth coming synod. The next workshop will be held in Malawi and Zambia from 18 to 19 August and 21 to 22 August, 2017 respectively.
This workshop was made possible with funding from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops(USCCB).
Fr Emmanuel Chimombo-AMECEA Pastoral Coordinator.