Preceding the Mini World Youth Day was the ‘Days in the Parish/Mission Days’. They took place from the 4 December. I was part of the group that was assigned to St Francis Xavier, Dassenhoek.
The area is plagued by electricity outages and water cuts. On two of the three nights we were in the neighbourhood, the electricity was cut whilst we were wrapping up around six at the church.
We started with stations of the cross from Kwacutshwayo Primary School where the parish would celebrate Mass prior to moving to their current location.
There was a car that decided to distract us by spinning. However, the youth were not deterred. They just ensured that they were a distant from it until it drove off.
Mass was celebrated by parish priest, Fr and visiting priest, Fr Mthembeni Mntambo. They were assisted by Br Mlondi Nzama who is a seminarian at St John Vianney.
Br Zipho Ngwenya and Zandi were celebrating their birthdays. They received a special blessing.
Also, in our midst were transitional deacons and other and other seminarians from Mariannhill diocese.
After lunch, young people took part in the catechetical sessions. They also engaged in various games eliciting curious stares from passers-by.
Got their hands dirty, wiping clean chairs, cleaning the church, paving the ground, cleaning the sacristy and the priest’s house,
On the second day of Mission Days, pilgrims gathered at their host parish to have breakfast and to be transported to Mariannhill Monastery. Upon arrival, Holy Mass was celebrated by seven priests with the national youth chaplain, Fr Mthembeni Dlamini as the chief celebrant. Pilgrims from the Pretoria Archdiocese joined in the celebration.
In his sermon, deacon Rev Lindelwa said friendship with Jesus is based on unconditional. He is the type of friend who is always online to listen to our stories, he will never block you and you will never see blue ticks with no response.
A tour was given of the monastery which was founded in 1882 by Fr Francis Abbot where its rich history was explained. Areas of interest such as the Mariannhill Museum, the abbey which is made out of corrugated iron and the smallest in the world also with two roofs, and the cemetery.
The general secretary of the Southern African Bishops’ Conference, Sr Hermenegild Makoro also welcomed the pilgrims saying: “Through your exuberance, we are already feeling the MWYD vibe. We wish you growth and grace. May you become who you are as proud Catholics” (sic).
“Some young people have complained that the monastery is nice but was just too quiet, so today the monastery community will welcome the noise, said Fr Mthembeni.
All in all, the MWYD was an opportunity for Catholics of this conference and beyond, to share their gifts, talents, cultures and to learn from one another.
On the third day, we bade our families goodbye and headed to St Joseph’s cathedral for the Commissioning Mass. Bishop Pius Dlungwane of Mariannhill and Archbishop William Slattery of Pretoria celebrated Mass with Fr Mthembeni Dlamini and some 25 priests concelebrating. They were assisted by a transitional deacon and seminarians.
The Mass was attended by pilgrims who had taken part in the days in the parish. They comprised
They were all given a memento by the youth
The gladness of being together is a gift from God. giving God the gift of time, self and joy. We should continue to share that gift with the rest of the country.