WORLD YOUTH DAY 2016 – Information Pack 1

Archdiocese of Pretoria

World Youth Day 2016- Krakow Poland


Information Pack 1


This is the first information pack with as much information we know so far about World Youth Day 2016 in Poland. It is more than 2 years away and we do not have much information thus far.

Consequently much of the information is provisional at present. As more information becomes available, it will be communicated to you. Packs will be compiled with the latest information available.

This pack contains the following:

  • Introduction to World Youth Day
  • General information
  • Fundraising
  • Payment Plan
  • Conditions for booking
  • Booking Form


World Youth Day 2016

Theme: Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. (Matt5:7)

Diocesan Youth Office contact details:

Fr Ellias Senona- 083 423 7185, Email:

Neo Rakoma 072 552 6212 Email:

Introduction to World Youth Day

In 1984 Pope John Paul II invited young people to a special gathering on Palm Sunday in Rome. Three hundred thousand young people attended this Youth Jubilee. In 1985-the United Nations International Year of Youth- Pope John Paul II extended a second invitation to young people. This time 450 000 attended this second international youth gathering held on Palm Sunday in Rome. These events in 1984 and 1985 inspired the Pope to create World Youth Day (WYD) to be celebrated at diocesan level every year on Palm Sunday and on an international level every two to three years. It’s much more than a day- usually up to two weeks. This brings together young Catholics from around the world to celebrate their faith and learn more about it. It’s an encounter of the young people of the world with the Pope and the Christian community of the host country. Recently international World Youth Days have been held in Toronto, Cologne, Sydney, Madrid, and Brazil.

General Information:

When exactly is the World Youth Day?

The date for the WYD is from the 25 July- 1Aug 2016. World Youth Day is much more than a day. We envisage departing on the 19 July 2016 and returning on the 3rd Aug 2016. The first part of the WYD is called ‘Mission week’ hosted by different diocese in the particular country. This gives young people a chance to experience the faith and culture of a country other than their own. The following week there is a program of activities based around the city hosting WYD, culminating in Mass with the Pope.

How much will it cost?  

At the moment we can’t give an exact figure, however we are estimating around R30, 000, including flights, accommodation, registration fee, solidarity fund for World Youth Day, donation towards the  ‘Mission week, extra insurance, bus transport to and from the airport and to venues etc. We will also need uniform as a group e.g. t-shirts/hodies etc. Pilgrims who attended different WYD will tell you how important it is to be recognized as a group when moving around in such large crowds.

Don’t let the cost of WYD put you off- IT IS WORTH IT!!!

We have many ideas for fundraising and a proposed payment plan. We would like to suggest one possible plan, that your family fundraise one third, your parish to sponsor one third. Many families and parishes may not be able to afford especially if there are many people going from the same parish but it might work for some people. You will probably find it easier to fundraise together with people in your parish or deanery. If you will be using any of the below fundraising activities make sure you get the right permission.

Fundraising Activities

  • Talent Shows
  • Fashion Show
  • Battle of the choirs
  • Collect and auction things off
  • Gardening (parish members)
  • Car Wash
  • Cake Sale
  • Valentines/ Easter/Christmas Ball
  • Organise theme parties

For further information talk to people who have fundraised in the past

Registration & Payment Plan

This is a suggested payment plan to help spread the estimated cost of R30 000. If the cost is different, this will be adjusted accordingly. The final payment need to be made by 30 Nov 2015 which will allow a few months to save for some spending money. You don’t have to stick to this plan although there will be a ‘cut off’ dates by which a minimum amount has to be paid

Registration will open on the 30th June until 31 Oct 2014

Registration requirements:

  • A registration form with the signature of your parish priest to be filled out,
  • A motivation letter stating why you would like to attend the WYD
  • A valid passport (which expires 6 months after the return date)

To secure your place, by the end of Oct you should have paid a non-refundable deposit R5000. Following this, the below payment plan will apply.

Nov 2014- R2000

Dec 2014- R2000

Jan 2015- R2000

Feb 2015- R2000

Mar 2015- R2000

Apr 2015- R2000

May 2015- R2000

June 2015- R2000

July 2015- R2000

Aug 2015- R2000

Sept 2015- R2000

Oct 2015- R2000

Nov 2015- R1000

Remember that NO payments are refundable- if you decide to cancel on or after Oct 2014 this date depends on the deposit dates due from WYD and travel agents and tour operators for flights and accommodation. Once any money is being paid over to WYD/TA/TO no monies can be refunded as it will be out of our hands. Therefore contract and agreement form the travel agent and travel operators will be distributed to all to ensure that everyone is informed accordingly.

Conditions of booking

Please ensure that you read and understand the following before completing your booking form.

  • You must be 16 years and older by July 1st 2014

NB: Until we are able to give a definite price the deposit and other payments made will be fully refundable if you decide to cancel. However when we do have a definite price you will be asked to sign a ‘Commitment to Payment’ which will state that in the event of cancellation at any time, and if we are unable to fill your place, you will cover any payments the diocese has made (or is obliged to make) for your place.

Payment Details

Account Name: Archdiocese of Pretoria

Account Number: 011807008

Name of Bank: Standard Bank

Branch Code: 011245

Branch: Brooklyn

Reference No: WYD2016 (Name & Surname)

World Youth Day 2016 Official Booking Form

Click Here (PDF 145kb) to download the printable Booking form for WYD 2016

Being Connected

Dear Young Friends

How wonderful that we are able to meet in this virtual space in order to share the word of God. The internet and social networks make it possible for us to stay connected to one another, to share in each others’ lives, thoughts and feelings. Those who are fortunate enough to have access spend a lot of their time surfing the net and therefore we as Christians should utilize this opportunity to spread the Good News of salvation. This is the reason why three successive Popes have encouraged Christians to use the social communication networks and the internet for the common good and the proclamation of the Gospel. However it does not end there.

God also has an “interconnected network”. In fact, all of creation is a network of inter-dependable relationships. God himself can be described as an interconnected network of Persons. The Church is Gods way of staying visibly connected to us through word and sacrament and also his way of connecting us to one another through his Spirit dwelling in us and making of us the Body of Christ. The Church is that sacred space where people who would otherwise have no or very little contact with each other, can experience real community, friendship, forgiveness and healing. For this reason we sometimes have to escape from the virtual world and engage ourselves in the present physical or “real” world. We need to spend time “logging in “to God through prayer and sacramental encounter and to do what the word asks of us. Young people are powerful- we have the most time at hand and the most energy- to do good deeds.

However, from our experience of modern technology and the internet, we realize that no system is perfect. Sometimes our computers crash for unknown reasons or it contract viruses. Our mobiles freeze from time to time, hackers gain access to our accounts and can make life difficult for us. In a similar way (and I do not presume to exaggerate the similarity) the “network of faith” the Church fails to serve all our needs. This is due to the fact that we are the Church and we are all imperfect, unseeing, un-cooperating, unbelieving, unloving at times. This is when we fail to connect, to tap into the loving presence of God who has created this Divine –Human community for our wellbeing and eternal salvation (= the fullness of life).

What further complicates the matter is that we as young people have much more of a technological vocabulary and understanding than we have for instance a spiritual or theological understanding. Since all things are connected in the bigger scheme of things, we need to know and to some measure understand the “science of faith”. In this regard the YOUCAT can be of great help to us. In fresh and contemporary language it speaks the ancient words of faith to us, carrying eternal truths deep into our hearts. This is a great gift of the Church to her young, helping them to become, and remain connected to the Ultimate Source of life and the truths that God has transmitted to the community of believers.

Today, we celebrate the feast of St John Bosco, educator of the young. He believed that Christ’s love and our faith in that love should pervade everything we do- work, study, and play. When we allow this to happen, then and only then, are we fully connected and fully alive!



Bishop TX Kumalo=Liaison Office

Fr Sammy Mabusela=Youth Chaplain

Sr Victoria Sibisi = Efl Coordinator

Youth Chaplains and Youth Coordinators

Youth office is looking at three elements: Youth Ministry, Youth Program and ACTS:

Our Report will come as follows: Youth Ministry: We had a meeting with National Youth Council at Koinonia discussing about the Diocesan Youth events and their Structures: The preventative from Clusters were there.

The Aim of the National Youth Council:

We adopted the theme of the World Youth Day so that we can make our young people aware of what is happening in the Catholic Church : Theme of the World Youth Day: “Go and Make Disciples of all Nations” Mathew 28:19.

1. The council will make things easier for the National office to deliver the message and promoting unity of the Clusters.
2. To promote leadership to the Youth Coordinators, mentors and Chaplains
3. Helping each Diocese to grow and be able to practice self –reliance or self –support.
4. Having good relationship with our Youth Spiritual Leaders/Youth Chaplains.
5. To have more understanding about our Faith as Catholic\Messengers of hope


1. To develop relationship with other Youth Programs
2. To give new ideas of spreading Gospel to other youth within the Society.
3. To journey with all the Youth as we are going to work as Clusters.
4. To facilitate a process of Spiritual Growth within our Diocesan level and Clusters.
5. The Identity of who am I as young Catholic.

Diocesan and Clusters Events:

Tzaneen Clusters which contains: Witbank, Polokwane and Tzaneen

They had a good celebration of Education for Life and Year of Faith. The Bishops were there to support the youth, National Chaplain Fr Sammy and EFL National Coordinator Sr Victoria.

Bloemfontein Cluster: Which contains: Bethlehem, Kroonstad and Kimberley.

They celebrated at Mass at Welkom, Our local Bishops were there giving full support to the Youth, again National youth office. It was only Kimberly Diocese that was missing there.

UMzimkhulu Diocese celebrated Year of Faith and Education for Life and Bishop Stan was there and give support.

Mariannhill Diocese celebrated Year of Faith and I was invited as Education for Life Coordinator to give clarification about the structure of SACBC and Youth Programs that we have in the Catholic Church. Bishop was there to give full support.

20TH Association of Catholic Tertiary Students: July 2013

ACTS is affiliated to the International Movement of Catholic Students. It falls under the SACBC Youth Desk. The chaplain is the advisor of the National Executive committee. The executive made up of:

The agenda of the week was as follows:

1. State of the Organization
2. ACTS National Executive
3. Provincial Representatives
4. Programmes and Activities
5. Vision and Mission
6. National Visits
7. International Visits
8. National Conference
9. Policy reviews and Constitutional Reforms
10. Networking

Education For life Event and Preparation

March until June 2013: Education for Life Office met with Diocesan Coordinators at Mariannhill early this year preparing the National Event that took place in Durban. We invited other youth programs to join so that what we are saying we are putting in practice. The Venue was in Durban because of our Bishops’ Plenary we want them to be with us. We experienced the unity amongst the youth and this was encouraging. It was a first time to have such gathering with them. The event was successful.

We worked hand in hand with KZN Cluster to prepare the National event and local youth take a big responsibility.

We did a lot of fund raising for our own event and local Sodalities. St. Anne and Sacred Heart sodalities donated food for the youth. Thank you to the Archdiocese of Durban. The National office was less spend this time for the event. The SACBC office produce Golf Shirts and Mugs for the youth. We paid minor facilities that were needed such as accommodation and Catering of the Priests and Sisters at the Cathedral where they were spending a weekend for celebration.

02 August 2013 Friday: It was our day as youth of the SACBC Region to meet at Amatikwe, Inanda, and St.Joseph to celebrate our opening Mass of the Anniversary. Main celebrant was Monsignor Joseph Kizito and 17 Priests that night. Our youth came in numbers that weekend especial the local youth in Archdiocese of Durban. Thank you for that. According to our statistics the number was 519 we have noticed that the Tent was small that night. We used Eqinisweni Primary School for an accommodation and our Thembalihle Crèche. The Parish Priest at St.Joseph Parish and the Principal Mr Msomi gave us full support. The Daughters of the Charity of the Sacred Heart take care of Catering cooking for the Youth.

Others arrived in the morning on the 3rd of August where we celebrated the whole day at St.Anthony Durban Central and in after noon we moved to the Cathedral at St. Emmanuel
03 August 2013 Saturday: Our guest Speaker was Bishop Hugh Slattery and Sr Bernadette Duffy on Saturday Morning until Lunch time.

We had a Concert and listen the Testimonies to those who did Education for Life and share our Faith as Catholics. In evening we had a Holy Walk from St Anthony to the Cathedral where we went to welcome our Bishops as they were there for our 10th Anniversary Mass. It was difficult for them because of the long day but they come and we appreciated a lot to be with them as they are journeying with us in their respective Dioceses.

The Main Celebrant was Cardinal Napier help by Archbishop Stephen Brislin as we want him on board as President of SACBC. Our Liaison Bishop was with us too. We were happy to see our bishops coming together as spend that night with us. Bravo and Long live to our Bishops God bless you all.

Beyond 2013: What is the Way forward of the program or what is the future of the Education for Life. Planning and Taking Action:

1. We want to take Education for Life as a full time program and spread the message of Change from 08years upwards.
2. Faith reflection and do a lot of debates about our Christian and most Catholic Faith Issues.
3. We want to spread and make sure all the bishops especial the new bishops in the field must take this into their hand and journey with young people.
4. Bishop Emeritus Hugh Slattery, encouraged us that we need to take as one of our Pastoral tool so that it will be easier to sustain and implementation
5. Youth program coordinator must work hand in hand with the Chaplain, each leader must know his her role.
6. Monsignor Joseph Kizito he said Young people is time to Act not individual but let us go together to spread the Good News.
7. Cardinal reminds the importance of becoming a young Catholic and we need to spread the good news by living good examples. Both Cardinal and Archbishop Brislin encouraged the youth to be responsible for their life, introducing the GOD.LOVE, LIFE and SEX.
8. We want to encourage all those bishops who don’t have Youth Chaplain: e.g. Durban and Johannesburg and others of course just mentioning the two as my example.


1. Collaboration, Trust and transparent to our Youth Leaders.
2. Confused roles of leading >example chaplain don’t know his role as Spiritual Father to the Youth General.
3. Youth Coordinator tries to overpower Youth Chaplains if he is not doing his Job properly.
4. The bishops failed to find the good leaders of the youth because of the Masks that we are wearing in front of them appearing to them as good leaders.
5. Failing to face the truth even if we see wrong we pretend as if everything is going fine and smooth, in one word we are afraid to touch the reality.
6. Change of Chaplains and Coordinators without informing the office, we experience communication brake down by having such challenge.
7. Other Dioceses don’t have Chaplains and youth programs; we end up not knowing whom we contact.

SACBC Coordinators Training: Our New Link: Peace Education

09-13 September 2013

Education for life had a training for all Coordinators about Peace Education. The week program was conducted by three Facilitators from United State. The funds came from USCCB, thank you for that.

What is Peace Education? Is the program that helps to fight with conflicts: Anger Management and other negative attitudes? The aim of inviting them was to gain knowledge and have new ideas from other countries as we have to deal with kids in early stage.

16-20 September 2013: John Vianney Seminary with Education for Life: Summary

The Education for life is a program that helps people to grow: It is good that we give such Programs in the Seminary: There are many challenges that need to be address and help all the seminarians to grow and understand the need of formation. There are many things that sometimes we overlooked and thing that everything is in order. By doing that we are killing souls of other people. As I was journeying with them and this is my third year giving the program. I experienced the following:

Let me give few examples:

1. Like personal Formation
2. Competition between Formators and Students
3. Confused role of Formators
4. Imbalances of formation system.
5. Choosing a responsible person as Formators
6. Goodness of some Formators

21 September 2013:

KZN Cluster celebrated the Year of Faith: The SACBC Youth office was invited. We celebrated at the Stadium and the Main Celebrant was Bishop Kumalo as he is in charge of the Youth in SACBC region.

04-06 October 2013

Cape Town Cluster which contains De Aar, Keimoes-Upington and Oudtshoorn.

It was only two Dioceses there but the number was good as if there were all there.

They celebrated the year of Faith and Education for Life:

There was a discussion about issues of faith as young catholic and how we respond to those challenges.
Bishop Francisco was there celebrating Mass with all the youth.

“Go and make disciples of all Nations” (Mt 28:19)

“I came so that they may have life and have it more abundantly”: (Jn 10:10)

11-12 October 2013

Sr Victoria Sibisi and Fr Simphiwe Kheswa attended the Handover meeting of the ACTS: National Executive at Holy Cross Retreat Centre.

My personal Concern about ACTS:

We need to help ACTS so that they can understand the meaning of having ACTS and why ACTS at Tertiary level. We were happy that the new Executive is willing to bring back the reality of ACTS. They even said they want to go back to their roots as Young Catholics.
As SACBC Youth Office we need to help them to be more Spirituality than to become more political.

Spiritual exercises must be the first priority. Our ACTS Chaplains n and see the patron Saint that will help them to focus more in Study and know that before they become students they belong to the Families and they are coming from different Parishes or Dioceses.

They need to be reminded that they belong to the Spiritual group not political group. Why?

Firstly: The questions was: What is the ACTS Spirituality? The answer was Go Green?

They focus more in projects than their Faith as Catholics.

This is the end of our Youth office report: Youth Ministry, Youth Programs and ACTS.

Thank you!


Compile by:

Sr Victoria Sibisi FCSCJ
P.O.BOX 941, Pretoria

What is Prayer?

Prayer is conversation with God, communication process that allows us to talk to God.

Sometimes we need to discuss the issues of faith as I have young people asking questions and they need answers. WHAT IS PRAYER? WHY WE NEED TO PRAY? If you listen to this two questions are very simple but in reality these are deep questions too. We are praying everyday but we don’t have that connection with God. The world is calling us we are giving more to the world than to God.

They asked all those questions because they don’t know how to pray. They desire to be with the Lord but is difficult because of the confusion of the two world around us.

Silence is another mode of prayer. Sometime during our workshops or training we give such time and we can see that our young people don’t understand why we make them silence for 10minutes.I used to say sometimes silence prayer is the best because you talk with God and your heart is open to Him.

Jesus reminds us in the Gospel of John chapter 17 ‘I do not pray for these only but also for those who believe in me through their word that they may all be one’ Prayer makes us free with God where we tell him everything.

Prayer gives us that unity of being a child of God. Trusting Him all the time.

Open to Him Heartedly. As I heard one little girl saying: “If we pray to God we open the door for Him so that he can come into our problems and situations and God will work over them”. This was a young and simple girl trusting God that one day He will hear her prayer. What is your experience about prayer?

Screen Shot 2013-10-17 at 1.02.04 PM

1. Our month of October is more focusing inn prayer and we have women of prayer too. St Theresa is one of them. She is holding Roses and sometimes we can reflect to her flowers:

i. Red –Rose-Passion
ii. Pink –Rose-Unconditional Love
iii. Yellow-Rose Light from above
iv. White –Rose-Purity.
Rosary is the one of our prayerful prayer as we are continuing praying Rosary this month. We must not pray Rosary only October

Reflection form Youth Office Pretoria by Sr Victoria

August-September 2013

Education for Life and Peace Education

Firstly I want to say a BIG Thank You to all of us!

Thank you very much for the support during our 10th Anniversary. Joy was written in face. Of our young people who came from different Dioceses.

This was the first attempt in organizing such big event. (It is good to take a risk sometimes.)

Our appreciation goes to all our Youth Coordinators, Youth Chaplains and to the Archdiocese of Durban, St.Joseph Parish Amatikwe, Eqinisweni Primary School, St.Antony Parish in the City and the Cathedral Team St. Emmanuel Cathedral. Our Cardinal Napier. We thank you all the Sisters @ Matikwe by taking full responsibility for our young people by cooking for us as SACBC Youth. God bless you all. .

We have challenges but together we can make a different!

Sr Victoria Sibisi fcscJ; and the national team and together with Archdiocese of Durban Team we want to say: Thank you

To Change is to grow. To grow is to change often.








All young people were happy to attend the programme of Education For life. The group who came for the first time was so excited as they see the need to be the agents of change. Even Fr Peter was there as the Chaplain of the Diocese off Port Elizabeth.

Peace Education is a program that deals with inner self and is going together with Education for Life as we have three Stages that deals with Behaviours, Attitudes and Values. We all know what is peace and we need to have peace individuals and within the community where we leave. We need to have a positive approach.

Mr. Lloyd from USA Miam tells us that, Peace Education was created with the belief that people can deal with conflict .The training Institutes was established 1991,to train teachers, counselors and other professionals in conflict resolution. I was happy to introduce our facilitators Marta, Frank and Lloyd to the group that was at Koinonia Pastoral Center in September 13-16 2013. This is about Peace Work as we know that all of us we need peace to our working places, schools.etc.

Education for Life Workshop

An Education for Life one day workshop was held at St John’s Parish in Estcourt on 15th June 2013.  The program was conducted for the Zulu speaking youth and young adults of the Midlands Deanery.   Fr. Phelelani Mswane and Mark Naicker facilitated the workshop which began at 9.30am and ended at 2.30pm.  We thank Fr Mhlanganisi Dlamini OMI, the Dean of Midlands, for organizing the workshop.  We are hoping to organize a weekend workshop at the end of the year.

For more information about the Education for Life program please contact Mark at the Chancery 031 3031417.

education for life 044 education for life 045

Youth Office Advert.

Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference Youth celebration of Education for Life and the Year of Faith:

Venue: The Archdiocese of Durban:

Arrival St. Joseph Parish @ Inanda Matikwe Area


2ndof August 2013 starts @ 18h00 with Registration and   Refreshments.

20h00: Celebration of the Eucharist by Bishop Teddy Kumalo

22h00-12h00 Revival

01h00 sleeping time


03August 2013

08h30: Morning Prayer

9h00 Breakfast on the move

10h00am, buses move from Inanda to Durban @ St.Antony

12h00Lunch on the move

11h00-until 14h30 Youth programme at St.Antony

15h00, Walk from St Anthony to the Cathedral @ST. Emmanuel Cathedral

18h00 Supper time, bring your own Supper, Office will serve refreshment

19h00 Practice for Mass Celebration

20h00 Mass Celebration by Cardinal Napier: Archdiocese of Durban

Archbishop Stephen Brislin: Archdiocese of Cape Town

Bishop Xolelo Kumalo: Diocese of Eshowe

You are all invited to join the Youth Office and this will bring us together as Youth of the Catholic Church:

Special Request please: Sms Education for life and you Diocese to this Number 38810, this will help us to get Lunch and SUPPER.

Any kind of Donation is welcome!


Accommodation will be at School: Eqinisweni Primary School@ Inanda for the all young people, together with Coordinators and Adult Support Body

The direction will be given soon:

Thank you for your Support

Conversion of Life


Once upon a time there was a poor woman, and a very selfish woman she was.  One day she died leaving not a single good deed behind.  The devil caught hold of her and plunged her into hell.  Screen shot 2013-02-14 at 1.59.11 PM

Her guardian angel stood by and wondered what good deed of hers he could remember to tell God about.  The angel mentioned, “Why, she once pulled up an onion from her garden and gave it to a beggar woman.”

And God replied, “You take that onion then, hold it out to her in hell and let her take hold of it and be pulled out by it.  If you can pull her out of hell, let her come into paradise.  But if the onion breaks, then the woman must stay where she is.”

The angel ran to the woman and held out the onion toward her.  “Come and catch hold,” cried the angel “I’ll pull you out.”  And he began cautiously pulling her out.  He had almost pulled her out when the other sinners in hell, seeing how she was being saved, began clutching hold of her legs so they, too could be pulled out. 

However, she was a very selfish woman and began kicking at them.  “I’m to be pulled out, not you.  It’s my onion, not yours.  Let go.”  As soon as she uttered these words, the onion broke.  The woman fell back into hell where she remained to this day. (The Onion by Fydor Dostoevski)


During the season of Lent in our Catholic tradition the church offers us the opportunity to embark on a journey of transformation and change.   The journey of transformation begins with the confrontation of oneself – with oneself in one’s sinfulness, untruthfulness and wounded-ness.  As self-confrontation begins, one comes to true self-knowledge, to compassion and communion with self and others.

Experiences of life, if we have been reflective over the years, reflect to us that as we grow in the life of faith, grounded in Christ, we become increasingly aware of areas of life we need to change.  No family, place of employment, local community or any established institute is a place where those who are already perfect live in perpetual harmony but an organic community subject to the struggles that beset every person.  Often as people of varying dispositions and diverse personal histories try to live and work together in the fishbowl intimacy of human relations, these struggles intensify.


Well, maybe like the old woman in the story of the onion, we tend towards selfish behaviour that inflates our ego and opinion of ourselves.  In the process of ourselves climbing onto the pedestal of self importance we push our neighbours and even those we love into the shadow of our goodness.

The story of the onion would appear to emphasise the importance of doing good deeds which we all know are the right things to do.  However, the challenge this Lent might be to look at the reasons why we do the good deeds we do or why we fail to do the good we know we are called to do?  What are our attitudes and our motivations?  What do we hope to gain for ourselves?  What do I need to change in myself? etc…

This challenge can hold true for any area of our lives that we want to change this Lent, with God’s grace.

BUT before we begin our Lenten resolutions for change let us remind ourselves that we are not asked to wallow in guilt or engage in belittling who we are but truly to know ourselves always in the presence of an all-seeing, all-loving God who calls us to repentance.  Our self-will frequently leads us into ways that distance us from our Creator, but the return home is always a celebration of grace and a feast of delight.  We need not be overly ashamed of our sinfulness as this is the human condition but we need to acknowledge that we are sinful and need conversion.  This is a daily challenge against Pride, Laziness, Lust, Anger, Fear, Jealousy, etc.

Screen shot 2013-02-14 at 1.50.22 PMWe are not to forget that God’s power is his love, and that our misery is no obstacle to that love.  On the contrary, St Francis of Sales affirms that our need serves as a kind of throne for Divine Love.  Often times we think too much about our own wretched selves, and that is why we are so unhappy.

The beautiful saying of St Augustine is well  known:

‘We are made for God, and our heart remains restless and troubled until it finds rest in Him’.

We must ask God to teach us to live this truth.  In practice, this is how it should be lived… it is not a question, as you may well imagine, of getting rid of all our faults and failings, but of turning to God with these very faults and failings, and of giving ourselves to Him just as we are.  How many souls would enjoy divine peace, if only they realized this and acted on it.  We spend our time bemoaning our faults and looking at ourselves, instead of looking at Him and growing greater.  For that is what He is – Infinite Love, longing for us to give ourselves to Him so that He may give Himself to us (Monk).

  • What area of my life do I hear God calling me to change (convert) so that I can truly encounter His loving embrace this Lent?
  • Read slowly and prayerfully the words of St. Matthew 22: 34-40

    … Jesus replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart,

    With all your soul, and with all your mind.

    This is the greatest and the first commandment.

    The second resembles it:

    You must love your neighbour as yourself.

    On these two commandments hang the whole law!”

  1. What are the good deeds I can accredit to myself?
  2. In my opinion would they be enough to qualify me for a place in heaven?
  3. Can I concretely recall a recent incident when I helped another person without seeking any reward for myself?
  • Name the occasion…
  • What good did I do?
  • How did I feel?
  • How do I think God will reward me?
  1. What are some of the selfish deeds that I can accredit to myself?
  2. In my opinion would they be enough to qualify me for a place in hell?
  3. Can I concretely recall a recent incident when I selfishly avoided helping another person because there was no reward in it for myself?Screen shot 2013-02-14 at 1.46.14 PM
  • Name the occasion…
  • What did I do?
  • How did I feel?
  • How do I think God will reward me?

May we live from what is best in each of us

May you feel the presence of God walk with you during this great season of hope and change…

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday traditionally mark the beginning of Lent, for many Christians and the start of weeks leading up to Easter. It is a time of reflection, a time of good will and the time to find ways to grow closer to God.  Take your time and read slowly this is a good reflection for us:

Psalm 51

  1. :Have mercy on me o God in your faithful love;
  2. Wash me thoroughly from my guilt purify me from my sin.
  3. For i am well aware of my offences, my sin is constantly in mind
  4. Against you, you alone have sinned, i have done what you see to be wrong

14 Deliver me from bloodshed, God, God of my salvation and my tongue will acclaim your saving justice. Oh Lord open my lips and my mouth will speak out your praise: Amen.

What is my life like, today, tomorrow, am I ready to announce the Lord favor, by giving up some of my burdens. Or i am stubborn not want to listen the voice of my God. This time of Lent is a challenge, we as youth we want to have fun and becoming celebrity or even now we don’t know what to choose between valentine and Ash Wednesday. Wednesday we are starting Lent: Thursday is a Valentine day: Are you going to enjoy yourself during this time of lent. Having Fun with your friends forget about the Church and your faith? You are busy buying new expensive gift of your friend: My reflection is: Are you having enough time to pray during this time.

We have a challenge in the Church, we failed to take our faith seriously, we are the people if nice time. Why? Sometimes we need to voice out as Catholics stand and preach the truth about our behaviors, why we fail to receive Christ: This time of Lent take it as your revival time, let us fight against abortion, negative thoughts with others, abuse of alcohol etc. Why we fail to listen the Church and God Commandment: God says, No sex before marriage, we as young people we are not listening to God: Let us ask God to give us Strength and Listen to His Voice! Amen

2012 Reflection and Beyond!

Dear Friends of Education for life

I am reflecting on this past credible year (2012). I am humbled by the growth; outreach and overwhelming support that has made this programme grow. We created unity and the relationship that has made us bond together since I arrived in this office in 2009. I have seen other Dioceses rise from the ashes of war, some struggling to survive. But with one voice we have moved and were encouraged by Bishop Mvemve. It was also said by Bishop Mvemve  “Forward we are going, backwards we are not.” .I have heard their voices; seen the impact of heart centered leadership and how it ripples into the nation of Southern Africa.

I have witnessed the workshops that were taking place all over, taking different ages, from Church, Communities Schools and even in prison. All this comes from the love of God, the Church and the Society. You are awakening to a deeper life, serving from the bottom of your hearts. Education for life is not only a programme that takes place in the Church; we have many others and they are giving each and everyone strength to leave and trust God. Education for life needs some wings to fly, which is the reasons we need to journey together with all other programmes that the Church has. The programme is made especially because of you and your willingness to respond with all your hearts that has made Education for Life reach even higher levels of expectation.

Having inspiring Coordinators, being socially conscious, and realizing spiritual gifts in each other. We have an uplifted spirit of (Ubuntu) and counting our blessings with the gift of humanity through our youth and amongst us as servants of God; we gave others the chance to see the following: 1) The Love of God. 2) How to serve without having a reward in this world only trusting God. 3) How to grow into full maturity as our emblem reminds us:

2013 is the year of overcoming our challenges, not only from the Youth Office but at large, in our local churches and dioceses. We are remarkable Servants of Christ. To work with the Youth is not a time of travelling or time of Socializing; it is a time to build humanity and make it be a reality. My reflecting on the Vatican City: XIII ORDINARY GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Faith and Good Works are married all the time. “Go therefore and make disciples of all Nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And look i am with you always; yes to the end of time”: (Mathew 28:19-20). Beautiful Scripture! We need to put it into action. We are required by our Christian Faith to bring Faith, Love and Hope to our Youth. 2013 is challenging me and you. Together we can! Many programmes are collapsing on the way; let us build them together again.

Let us welcome everyone in Faith: Spreading the good news and trusting God that we will change our mindset this year of 2013. “I have been found by those who did not seek me: I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me”. (Roman 10:20)

Reflection by: Sr Victoria Sibisi fcscj SACBC Youth Office.