The National Movement of Catholic Students (NMCS) held their annual Easter Conference from 6th to 10th April 2023 in Manicaland at Kriste Mambo Mission, Zimbabwe.
The conference that was attended by 450 catholic students from various universities in Zimbabwe was set to achieve the following main objectives;
- To bring catholic students from tertiary institutions of education across the country to celebrate the Easter Triduum and giving them a brief catechesis on the Paschal mystery.
- To create a platform for faith formation in terms of the nexus between ecology and spirituality (forming stewards of creation).
- To offer leadership Training through civic education through Pray Register Vote Panel Discussion.
- To give Students a platform to live the Catholic Social Teachings and Corporal Works of Mercy through community immersion and outreach.
At the end of the 5-day conference all four objectives were met with great success especially through the animation of the conference by the students themselves with guidance from the chaplaincy, the NMCS Secretariat and the Jesuit Youth Office of Southern Africa. The students took charge of the programme and made it their own, demonstrating growth in leadership, responsibility and faith formation.
The positive experience of those who attended the conferences is depicted by the positive feedback received.
- Students responded positively to the Community Immersion experiences during the morning of Good Friday. Most of them confirmed that the experience was fulfilling and edifying as they attached meaning to engaging disadvantaged members of the community and being of service to them. Many of them were able to relate the meaning of Easter through the concept of serving the less privileged.
- Students also responded positively to the Stations of the Cross which were structured in such a way to teach them about the Catholic Social Teachings.
- Students responded positively to the Ignatian Circles of Hope (MAGIS Circles) which they deemed therapeutic in nature as they gave them a platform to share their faith experiences, hence deepening their faith.
- The panel discussion on Pray Register Vote managed to inform students on what and how they could contribute to the upcoming general election in Zimbabwe. It was a riveting and engaging discussion and students managed to position themselves as barometers of mass consciousness.
- Ecological Immersions also helped students situate their faith in terms of environmental responsibility and sustainability.
- During the conference, a movie produced by the students was premiered which was an expose of the talents and capabilities of their peers in terms of artistic expression and content creation.
Participants take part in various activities; panel discussion on Pray Register Vote (Picture on your Left) and also collecting firewood for camping site (Picture on the Right)
In conclusion the National Easter Conference was a worthy time that was used by the students to celebrate, learn and live out their faith. United through Christ in Christ, the students managed to bear testimony of the risen Christ in word and deed. The MAGIS programme helped to prepare them with the experience of the Easter triduum by offering them an opportunity to share in a unique experience on three distinct levels: individual growth, relationships with God and intercultural dialogue.
By, Mr. Christopher Murasi
Youth Projects Assistant
Jesuit Province of Southern Africa