Bikira Maria Mama wa Kanisa (BMMK) is among the new parishes in the Archdiocese of Dar es Salaam, that now has a total of 100 parishes. BMMK was officially inaugurated as a parish in July 2020, and Fr. Martin Dominic Rutayebesibwa appointed as the first parish priest. As with other new parishes in the Country in the process of building church facilities, so does BMMK, where currently they are in the second phase of building their church. Despite the parish’s busy schedule, Fr. Martin graciously invited CYNESA Tanzania to meet with the youth, about their engagement and participation on caring for our common home.
Soon after the second mass, on the first Sunday of Advent, the Youth gathered inside an unfinished church building, ready for the rendezvous. Our discussion started by looking at the history of St. Francis of Assisi and his way of life with regard to creation.
Youth from the Small Christian Community named after St. Francis of Assisi, shared their knowledge of their patron saint. Curiously, they were unaware that St. Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of ecology too, and that set the stage for my conversation with them.
After an introduction, I shared with them about encyclical letters, including the most recent ones written by Pope Francis like Fratelli Tutti, before focusing our attention on the encyclical letter, Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home.
It was consoling to hear, during our sharing, how everyone was personally aware of the sustenance that our common home provides to all of us. Yet, we all grappled with the question of our responsibility to take care of the environment and why we carried on with business as usual. After a few minutes of silent reflection, we steered our sharing towards what we as young people need to do.
Finally, we held small group discussions, to come up with concrete action plans for the parish youth, with some impressive suggestions, like having a youth environmental day and coming up with a slogan. During the proposed environmental day, youth committed to participate in cleaning up the environment, and creating awareness to other parishioners.
At the end of our meeting, the youth leader from BMKK Ms. Joyce Kasoni offered closing remarks, and thanked CYNESA Tanzania for facilitating the forum. “I would like to encourage all of you to be good ambassadors to your families, small christian communities as well as to your neighbors”, she added.