35 young Catholics from the deanery of St. John of the cross and St. Peter of the cross in Dodoma Tanzania, attended a conference organized under the AJAN HIV and AIDS Prevention Programme for Youth. This happened from 17th up to 20th December 2021 and was intended as a way of commemorating the Ignatian year. This project was funded by the African Jesuit AIDS Network-AJAN.
The trainers involved in training the youths included Fr. Philo Nguruwe SJ., Bro. David Kamau SJ., Sr. Vicent, and a few AHAPPY group leaders. The latter received the participants on arrival at St. Peter Claver and began with explaining the meaning of AHAPPY, the founders of AHAPPY Generation, the work of AJAN, and AHAPPY and AJAN objectives and goals.
A movie which showed the life of St. Ignatius of Loyola was screened for them to see. They learnt about St. Ignatius’ life in a war camp, the military defeat, his severe injury during the war, his journey after the war, and his conversion. These things, presented in the first topic, inspired the youth.
The second topic covered basic principles of life, daily particular examination of conscience, general examination of conscience, and a personal examen which involved looking at sin. This involved prayer for grace and repentance. Next in line were subtopics of “lets live”, “Love”, “Service”, and “fun”. The next topic included “how friendships begin”, “how courtship develops”, and “marriage”.
Most importantly, the learners were led to understand the five dimensions of the human being such as the physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual. They were also led to understand that the sacrament if repentance does not take sin away, they were reminded that homosexuality, ignoring orphans, abortion, and murder is sin. They were able to understand that sin affected the future.
The fruits of God’s goodness such as sensitivity to others and patience were then explored, as priesthood, celibacy, and how to understand one’s calling were discussed. They learnt that they need to live purposely making use of resources that God has given them and performing acts of kindness as representatives of Christ in the world.
At the end of the conference Fr. Mutambo, the priest of the Airport parish, congratulated the youths for undergoing the training process and encouraged them to be on the vigilance both physically and spiritually. At 12 o’clock in the evening, there was a short closing ceremony for the conference, there were prize-giving procedures for the winners of all the games organized by the happy members of the group.