Our contributing author for this month’s leaflet is Fr. Peter Schineller, SJ, After teaching theology in seminaries and universities in the USA and 22 years in Africa, he is now engaged in pastoral ministry and writing at the Jogues Retreat Center in Cornwall, NY, one hour north of New York City.
Intention: Young People in Africa
That young people in Africa may have access to education and work in their own countries.
The fastest growth in the 2000-year history of Christianity is happening now and it is happening in Africa. In the year 1900 there were 9 million Christians in Africa. Now there are 500 million Christians out of 1.2 billion persons in Africa. What about young people in Africa? Twenty percent of the world’s youth (those aged 15 to 21) are in Africa! It is youngest continent in the world. The median age in Africa is a youthful 19.4 years. Indeed, there are many reasons why the Pope asks us to pray for the youth in Africa.
Growing up in Africa is not easy. Youth face problems and struggles that include bad leadership, corrupt government, stagnant economies, and poor or non-existent educational facilities. Despite some advances in education and economic growth, progress remains fragile, inequalities are widespread and young Africans face major difficulties in finding decent jobs and participating in decision-making.
Yet there is hope. The youth of Africa are resilient, hopeful, and eager to learn. They have much to offer the world – joy, hope, a sense of God, dance, and song. Vocations to the priesthood and religious life are abundant. The youth of Africa need our support and need our prayers. We follow the lead of Pope Francis as he addressed the youth of Africa in Uganda.
“Do not be afraid to let the light of your faith shine in your families, your schools and your places of work. Do not be afraid to enter into dialogue humbly with others who may see things differently. We pray that your appeals and your pleas for greater opportunity can be heard; that all can enjoy the peace and security which they rightfully deserve on the basis of their infinite human dignity.”
Points for Meditation
When I hear news about our young Christian brothers and sisters in Africa, do I prayerfully reflect on it?
What can I learn from the youth of Africa about the richness, the joy and the hope that Christian faith gives us?
Mt. 28:19-20 “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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”