Roman Catholic Students within the Southern Africa Sub-Region held their first ever summit for International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS) at Chinhoyi Pastoral Centre, Diocese of Chihnoyi in Zimbabwe where they expressed commitment to renew the African continent.
The International Movement of the Catholic Students summit was one of the forum where by Catholic Student Leaders met as a way of deepening their understand on the movement and its functional operations hence to ensure active participation of the students in issues of constant dynamic changes that affect them and the society.
The summit also aimed at discussing and exchanging experiences and reinforce the role of the movement in various countries and in all levels of participation, as well as foster solidarity between national and local movements within the sub region.
Held under the theme ‘The renewal of the African Continent is in our Hands’ Malawi’s representation comprised of Emmanuel Kafulafula (College of Medicine), Violet Machika (Catholic University), Gibson Mtilatila (Chancellor College) and Sidonia Dzikolidaya from the Episcopal Conference of Malawi’s Youth Office which is under the Pastoral Commission.
According to Kafulafula, President of the National Movement of Catholic Students in Malawi, the conference was crucial because it encouraged students to take the responsibility of being a true Christian by among others, responding to the signs of time in accordance with Pope Francis encyclical, Laudato Si which calls for action in caring for the environment.
“Pope’s Encyclical informs us as students to notice the changes in the climate, so that students can use the methodology “See”, “Judge” and “Act” to realize that human beings should not only be selfishly driven by consumerism but rather be concerned and take a big role with love for future generation in taking care of our mother earth as stated in the Bible where man is given the responsibility to take care of all creatures on earth,” said Kafulafula.
He noted that as Catholic students guided by the Church doctrine, need to collaborate with the government and people of Goodwill to advocate for responsible stewardship of the creation and morally fight against all individuals and institutions in private sector that damage and disturb the environment.
“As students and members of the wider community, we need to advocate and uphold the integrity of creation and that the environment be accorded a moral status. We should not use the natural resources selfishly as if we are the last generation. We need to take care of the environment,” he said.
During the conference, the students were also challenged to discuss issues pertaining to Catholic students in higher learning sectors and also offer suggestions as solutions and to promote dialogue towards a healthier society by designing frameworks and curriculum development through forums and networking.
Sidonia Dzikolidaya from the Episcopal Conference of Malawi’s Youth Office which is under the Pastoral Commission said the conference also took time to share good educational practices and methodologies by equipping attendees to global interdependence and multilateral approaches that promote peaceful and inclusive societies and Promote faith and education developmental strategies.
Dzikolidaya said the Summit created an international global interaction of students to exchange experiences from their respective nations. It allowed students to share successes and challenges by reflecting on what it means to be a Catholic Tertiary Student and a leader, which will help participants to improve their national movements back home.
She said spiritual talks challenged students to enjoy the Gospel of the Lord by being carriers of joy to people that surround them, to be good leaders that are servants who care for their sheep, just like Jesus Christ.
“Among other things the summit encouraged students to create a good networking system. IMCS is the international union of Catholic students from different countries. The main mission is the evangelization of students circle. The movement encourages students to live their faith by becoming involved in solving social problems locally, national and internationally,” said Dzikolidaya.
The forum was also attended by the United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth represented, Sameh Kamel; the international office of IMCS Pax Romana was represented by Edouard Pihewa Karoure and IMCS Pan African Coordinator Patrick Ochiba Muchalwa.
The summit brought together 37 students from six countries of Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa, Lesotho and Botswana.