Africa: Zoom Conference meeting for children in english speaking Africa
By Demetria Banda
The Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) National Directors of English-Speaking African (NDESA) organized a Holy Childhood Zoom Children’s Conference on Sunday 17th October 2021 that was attended by about 289 participants from 11 countries.
The Conference was organized to give chance to Children to share their experiences as testimonies of “what they have heard and seen” in the time of Covid 19 as one way of celebrating the Mission Month of October whose theme is “We cannot but speak of what we have heard and seen,” Acts 4:20.
Children shared their faith-Missionary experience in the time of Covid-19 in their respective Countries and how Pontifical Mission Society of the Holy Childhood (Missionary Children) has and continues to give them Missionary formation in this difficult time of the Covid19 pandemic.
The Secretary General of Pontifical Mission Society of Holy Childhood, Sr. Roberta Tremarelli, expressed her joy to join the meeting and to listen to the children sharing what they have seen and heard and later encouraged the Children to live their faith and express it freely.
“Jesus Christ, who loves you, would like you to learn much about him and show him love by living missionary life to share faith to fellow children,” said Sr. Roberta.
“Missionary childhood goes beyond the border... very well dear children and teenagers. It is a universal commitment to Jesus and the church”.
She also thanked the National Directors, National Coordinators and Animators for their commitment to teach children and give them time to meet virtually and allow them to speak.
National Director of PMS in Zambia, Bishop Edwin Mulandu, in his keynote address also encouraged the children to live their missionary life and be witnesses of the Gospel by helping fellow children and to freely speak of what they have heard and seen during in their daily life.
“The Catholic Church through Holy Childhood, cares for you and gives you faith formation so that you be friends of Christ, live your faith and share it to fellow children. October being Mission Month, is your time also to give your testimony of the faith you have received,” said Bishop Mulandu.
Children shared their missionary experiences. All the children expressed joy and satisfaction of how Holy Childhood formation has helped them. They clearly indicated that through Holy Childhood missionary formation, they learnt how best to serve other children, donate items to other needy children, recite the rosary, especially during the mission month and learnt how to read the word of God.
“John Michael, 8-year-old boy from Uganda Kampala Diocese in Uganda said he was happy to learn from his fellow Children members of Holy Missionary Childhood.
“I am happy today to interact with my fellow Children, members of Holy Missionary Childhood. Through this zoom conference meeting, I have learnt that God loves all of us from different countries. I wish to meet them one day and pray with them and also play Games,” said Michael
Rihanna Omollo from the Catholic Diocese of Garissa in Kenya was also very happy for the opportunity to interact with her fellow children.
“I was very happy for the opportunity to share my experiences as a missionary child to my fellow missionary children within our continent, I was also happy for the interaction seeing children from Zambia, Ethiopia, Nigeria just to mention a few, it was a very nice experience and it’s my wish to have such meetings often,” said Omollo.
She later said it was very encouraging to hear from different countries and knowing that they are all doing the same things in different countries. She also thanked the coordinators, animators and all who helped them as children to grow as good little friends of Jesus Christ.
From Malawi, Valencia Thodi also said she was happy to know what other countries do whenever they meet up as holy childhood members. She said she was grateful for the opportunity to represent Malawi during the meeting.
In his remarks, The National Director of Pontifical Mission in Malawi, Reverend Father Vincent Mwakhwawa said the zoom meeting was a great missionary experience to them as National Directors and to Children.
“We were able to hear from and see the children faith and missionary enthusiasm; we have noted that most children in Africa are being given good Missionary formation. From our observation we note that some Children know their missionary obligations for they pray for others (using the missionary rosary), teaching others through poems, songs, dances and faith- actions in charity works. Some of our children in Africa are indeed living the missionary spirit,” said Fr Mwakhwawa.
He added that through the meeting he has also noted that the animators lay and religious are doing a great work in animating the children.