The Plenary Assembly of the XIII Interregional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA) begins
The Bishops of the IMBISA (Interregional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa) Region (http://www.IMBISA.Africa) gathered for their 13th plenary assembly in Windhoek, Namibia, and the Official Opening Ceremony was held on Saturday , 24th September.
The theme of this assembly is Building Forward Together: Reimagining the Church’s Engagement with Youth in the IMBISA Region in Light of Pope Francis’ Exhortation, Christus Vivit.
The ceremony began with the singing of the national anthems of Namibia and that of the African Union (AU).
Archbishop Liborius Ndambukuti Nashenda OMI Bishop of the Diocese of Windhoek in Namibia welcomed all delegates to the plenary.
He gave a special welcome to the young people who came from our nine countries of the IMBISA region.
He highlighted how both the country and the Church in Namibia have developed since the last plenary session that was held in 1995.
The President of IMBISA, Bishop Lucio Andrice Muandula, Bishop of the Diocese of Xai-Xai in Mozambique, welcomed newly ordained bishops in the last three years for this fraternity of bishops.
In his capacity as president of IMBISA he officially declared the plenary open.
The Apostolic Nuncio to Namibia, Archbishop Peter Brian Wells, also made his remarks explaining the Holy Father’s call to Synodality and extended warm greetings from Pope Francis to all delegates to this XIII Plenary Assembly.
The Honorable Vice President of Namibia, Dr. Nangolo Mbumba, delivered the opening address.
He thanked the Catholic Church of this region for the support provided to all countries during the liberation struggles in the region.
He also gave a special welcome to all delegates from the Republic of Namibia.
After the Opening Session (State Function) we had interventions from the USCCB, SECAM and the Holy See Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development.
Dr. James Nyawo, a Zimbabwean professor currently lecturing in Nairobi, Kenya, will provide information on the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Christus Vivit, over the next two days.
He highlighted how the Apostolic Exhortation is an invitation from the Holy Father to ‘build forward together’.
The Holy Father’s great concern in Christus Vivit is that the ‘Church has been captured by those who make her old’.
Allowing such backsliding makes the Church irrelevant to young people.
The Church needs to walk together to go very far (cf CV 167).
Mrs. Dorrett Byrd also intervened on behalf of Catholic Relief Services, which is doing a great job in our region.
The day concluded with the celebration of Holy Mass by the Apostolic Nuncio in Namibia, Archbishop Peter Brian Wells, who in his homily emphasized the theme of availability for service as bishops, priests and religious.