Ordinary time, Year B

Immaculate Conception and Inauguration of the Year of the Youth

Catholic Diocese of Ndola, led by Our Bishop His Lordship Dr. Alick Banda celebrated the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Patroness of the Diocese, at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Ndola on 8th December, 2017.

Speaking with admiration on Blessed Virgin Mary, the Bishop said in his homily;

“Today we celebrate with joy a day in which God constructed His own dwelling place – the Blessed   Virgin Mary. This dwelling place of God stands at the confluence of the New and Old Testaments. On one hand, Mary brings to an end an era of waiting; and on the other hand she inaugurates the  new times of grace and salvation in Jesus Christ.”

 In the same mass the Diocese closed the celebration of the 125 Years of Catholicism in Zambia and launched the Year of the Youth. And in underscoring the importance of the two themes the Bishop passionately asked the Catholic adults to continually treasure their faith and diligently pass it on to the future of the Church, the vibrant Youth.

“We rejoice at the close of our diocesan celebrations of 125 Years of Catholicism in Zambia and     at the same time, we launch the Year of the Youth – the future of the Church. We too, stand at   the confluence of a legacy of 125 Years of Catholicism in Zambia and the transfer of that  legacy to our Young generation – the Church of tomorrow.”

At the end of the Eucharistic celebration, the Pastoral Director Fr. Mathew Mumba Ofm Conv. handed on instruments and symbols to be used as we carry out activities to make the Year of the Youth an effective and efficacious reality. These were given to each of the 10 deaneries of the Diocese. They included the schema stipulating what activities, the periods when and how these activities will happen. Other instruments were a special kind of bible containing questions and answers, Youth Catechism(Youcat), the Doctrine Catechism(Docat) – teaching the doctrine of the Catholic Church and a banner depicting the year of the Youth which will serve as a constant reminder of year’s theme, especially to the youths.

As observed by Bishop Dr. Alick Banda, at the center of the Year of the Youth is to give the youth sustainable and meaningful directions to what they should become in life. Deepening their Christian faith, ultimately making Christ become a reality in them.

“The challenges of globalization, technological dominance, as well as economic and social hardships cannot be overlooked in the discovery of your vocation. All things being equal, the Church wishes to listen to your voice, your sensitivities and your faith, even your doubts and your criticism. It is only then the Church can inspire and accompany you adequately on your life journey to maturity.”

The Year of the Youth will run from 8th December, 2017 to 8th December, 2018.

Below is the Bishop’s full homily:

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
And the Inauguration of the Year of the Youth

1. Today we celebrate with joy a day in which God constructed His own dwelling place – the Blessed Virgin Mary. This dwelling place of God stands at the confluence of the New and Old Testaments. On one hand, Mary brings to an end an era of waiting; and on the other hand she inaugurates the new times of grace and salvation in Jesus Christ.
2. Today, we rejoice at the close of our diocesan celebrations of 125 Years of Catholicism in Zambia and at the same time, we launch the Year of the Youth – the future of the Church. We too, stand at the confluence of a legacy of 125 Years of Catholicism in Zambia and the transfer of that legacy to our Young generation – the Church of tomorrow.
3. As we reflect on the role of Mary in the scriptures, we recognize that she stands as a link between the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament records God’s plan for human salvation in His preparations to make the world ready for the Incarnation. Of all the tribes of the earth, God chose a particular people to whom He revealed Himself. He nurtured and instructed them through His prophets in order for them to be able to recognize His Son when at last He came. And when the time came, He chose a woman from the house of David to bore Him.
4. It is through the Virgin Mary that Jesus came into the world and it is also through her that He has to reign in the world. Through her consent the entire universe was saved. The Son of God became man for our salvation but in Mary and through Mary.
5. From her obedience at the Annunciation to the events of Christ’s passion, Mary illustrates for us a model of Christian virtue, a model of faith and a model of obedience as she remained true to Jesus and His word – being both a mother and a disciple. As salvation history unfolds in our own personal lives, God invites us to have: the faith, hope and love of Mary; the submission and obedience of Mary; and that readiness to be a mediator of God in the world like Mary.
6. Today, we inaugurate the Year of the Youth, trusting in a provident God, who provides for our future, who prepares His children for their assigned mission in life even before they are born (cf. Jer. 1:5). We believe in God who foresees and equips us with all the qualities we need in order to play our part in life.
7. Our dear Youths, the time has come for the Church to pass on the cudgel of blessings to you. It is our desire to accompany you on your life journey to maturity so that, through a process of discernment, you may come to discover your plan for life and to realize it with joy. It is our wish that you may experience throughout this year and beyond a deeper encounter with God and neighbour and to actively participate in the transformation of society and the Church today.
8. However, the challenges of globalization, technological dominance, as well as economic and social hardships cannot be overlooked in the discovery of your vocation. All things being equal, the Church wishes to listen to your voice, your sensitivities and your faith, even your doubts and your criticism. It is only then the Church can inspire and accompany you adequately on your life journey to maturity. May Mary, the immaculately conceived intercede for you. Amen.

You can download the Bishop’s full homily: Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary – 2017

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