Over 5000 youths from across Uganda will converge in the Diocese of Kabale for the 2017 National Youth Day (NYD) celebration scheduled for December 12-17.
The NYD is a Church’s Day event for young people, and is typically celebrated every year in different dioceses. This year’s celebration will host not only youth from Uganda but also youth from Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The National Youth Coordinator of the Uganda Episcopal Conference, Joyce Zako said that young people from the above mentioned countries have already confirmed their participation in this year’s celebration.
“We invited a number of countries but so far we have only received confirmation messages from the Youth department of the Episcopal Conferences of Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania,” she said adding that the youth from DRC will attend the celebration as a diocese but not as a conference.
The NYD is an opportunity for the youth to experience the universality of the church, to deepen their faith and grow closer to Christ in their daily lives, by means of prayer and the sacraments, together with other young people. This year’s celebration will run under the theme, “The Mighty One has done great things for me, and Holy is His name” (Luke 1:49) as released by Pope Francis.
According to Zako the realities around the youth are so challenging. Thus, by coming together, young people are able to discuss their most intimate aspirations and experience the Church as a communion, and make a commitment to the urgent task of new evangelization.
“The celebration helps to strengthen and enkindle the apostolate in the host Arch/diocese. It also provides an opportunity for the youth to live and share the universality of the Church that in Christ we are indeed one. Besides, it creates awareness among the youth on topical issues within their community hence encourages them to become change agents,” she explained.
Refugees living in Uganda will also be taking part in this year’s NYD celebration as an association for the first in the NYD history.
Meanwhile, during the week of NYD, there will be a number of activities including a welcoming ceremony, way of the cross, catechesis, confessions, devotions and reconciliation activities. There will also be other entertaining activities which include tourism, sports competitions, cultural exhibitions and cultural music performances. The youth will also be taken through discussion topics such as Youth and entrepreneurship, Youth and Politics as well as Youth and HIV/AIDS prevention and the Art of choosing a good partner.
Most Rev. Paul K. Bakyenga, the Archbishop of Mbarara Ecclesiastical Province will preside over the final Holy Mass of the NYD. Other bishops who will take part include the Bishop Chairman of the Lay Apostolate Commission (LAC) of the UEC and all the Bishops from Mbarara Ecclesiastical Province.
His Excellency President Yoweri Museveni of the Republic of Uganda will be the Chief Guest.
Kabale Diocese will animate the 2017 NYD celebration on behalf of Mbarara Ecclesiastical Province which comprises of Dioceses of Fort portal, Hoima, Kabale, Kasese and Mbarara. The Diocese of Jinja hosted the 2016 NYD celebration which attracted more than 3000 youth. The NYD celebration was inaugurated in 1993 in Tororo Archdiocese.
By Jacinta W. Odongo; Media Officer, Uganda Episcopal Conference