By Rose Achiego
In his speech during the 34th World Youth Day (WYD) in Panama City, Central America, attended by thousands of young pilgrims, the Holy Father Pope Francis shared his vision of a Church that dreams, and loves.
The Pope’s reflections with young people on 24th, January, 2019, was dedicated to a definition of love: “A love that does not overwhelm or oppress, cast aside or reduce to silence, humiliate or domineer”.
The Pontiff said a love that makes sense is “is a daily, discreet and respectful love, one that is free and freeing, a love that heals and raises up. It is the quiet love of a hand outstretched to serve, a commitment that draws no attention to itself”.
Also present at the World Youth Day in Panama was a Kenyan Delegation that comprised young people, Clergy and religious led by Chairman of The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) – Commission for Pastoral and Lay Apostolate who is also the Archbishop of Nyeri and Apostolic Administrator of Kitui, Most Rev. Anthony Muheria.
Speaking from Panama, Archbishop Muheria described the WYD as a celebration of witness to Christ and commitment to a future that upholds God’s Values in society. “It is an amazing encounter and experience,” he said. “Young people talking different languages, from different churches yet with one common aim – to share moments together without barriers as they exchange banners as a show of solidarity.”
He reiterated Pope Francis’ message saying there is need for the youth to become builders of bridges, not walls, adding that it is a great lesson for Kenya and the entire world to truly embrace the ideas of brotherhood and sisterhood. “Be welcoming not separating,” he said.
Having seen vibrancy in the young people in Panama, Archbishop Muheria said there is need to take this great experience back home in Kenya.
“We must graft this experience to our youth in Kenya to bring prayer and fun without fear to show our Catholic faith. Do not be afraid!” he said. “The youth are our future and we have hope and place a lot of hope and expectation in them.”
He prayed for a strengthened youth of the world. “God bless the youth of the world, make them close to Christ and bring them to flourish in the faith,” he said, expressing a desire to replicate the same event in Kenya and Africa. He noted that the Youth have great desires to serve God and so there is need to accompany them and to love them.
In his tweet message, Archbishop Muheria reported that Pope Francis acknowledged the sacrifices faced by many of the young people in getting to Panama. But, he reminded them that “a disciple is not merely someone who arrives at a certain place, but one who sets out decisively, who is not afraid to take risks and keeps walking”. “This is the great joy”, the Pope said, “to keep walking”.
34th World Youth Day, 2019 was celebrated from the 22nd to 27th ,January, 2019, under the theme “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38)