In July and August 2023, Ambassadors of a Worldwide Brotherhood (WWB) from several countries came together for an international meeting. Together they participated in the World Youth Days in Lisbon, Portugal. Some testimonies from Ambassadors of Namibia:
Since joining the Namibian Ambassadors of a Worldwide Brotherhood, the prospect of attending a World Youth Day seemed distant, primarily due to health concerns. The prospect of having to walk long distances associated with pilgrimage was daunting, fearing the potential impact on my health. However, through discussions with my fellow team members and conversations with Br. Damasus, Br. Lawrence, Br. Athanasius, and Br. Paul, I found conviction and clarity through prayer and reflection. It became evident that I had been chosen for a specific purpose to partake in this World Youth Day, and I began to anticipate the pilgrimage.
Describing this experience as a “wonderful pilgrimage” would be an understatement. The entire journey of the World Youth Days proved to be transformative. Our pilgrimage commenced when we arrived at Emmaus in the Netherlands and encountered Ambassadors from five other nations, namely, Brazil, Timor-Leste, Kenya, Tanzania, and the Netherlands. Meeting these Ambassadors from diverse cultural backgrounds filled me with great joy. As we prepared for the WYDs in Portugal, we formed bonds and became a united family of WWB. The daily masses, meditations, and activities at Emmaus served as fitting preparation for the World Youth Days.
Vincentian passion and dedication
After spending about 5 days at Emmaus, we travelled to Felgueiras, Portugal, where we spent three enriching days at a gathering of Vincentian youth. This experience proved to be genuinely transformative. I was particularly moved by the sessions in which young individuals shared their respective country’s activities and heartfelt testimonies. Witnessing the passion and dedication of these young people filled me with hope for the future of youth globally. Their embodiment of 1 Timothy 4:12 – “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe” – served as a powerful inspiration for me to contribute more profoundly in my own capacity within Namibia.
Attending the World Youth Days afforded us the opportunity to visit historical sites such as Fatima in Portugal, Lourdes in France, and Dax in France – the birthplace of St. Vincent de Paul, the patron saint of the CMM Brothers. At both Fatima and Lourdes, my faith was moved seeing thousands of pilgrims at these sacred sites; it was especially moving seeing the faith of the sick at Lourdes queueing up to be dipped in the water in hopes of a miracle. The light procession at Lourdes was another touching experience, as it showcased thousands of pilgrims professing their Catholic faith through the recitation of the Rosary.
“Do not be afraid”
The highlight of our journey was undoubtedly the World Youth Days themselves. The daily catechesis sessions in Lisbon provided us with an opportunity to reflect upon the chosen themes of the World Youth Day. The opening ceremony, presided over by the Pope, was a spectacular sight, as hundreds of thousands of people, especially youth converged to profess their faith in the “One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.” The Pope’s messages over the course of three days resonated profoundly with me. He reminded us that we were not at the World Youth Day by chance but because Jesus had called us to be there, calling us by name to come as we are because of His love. We were among the fortunate ones selected by grace to partake in this event, and we bear the responsibility of sharing our experience of the joy and love we encountered with others.
Lastly, in his closing homily, the Pope encouraged us with the message “do not be afraid.” As we return to our respective countries, we will undoubtedly face numerous challenges. However, we must remember that God is always with us, and fear should not deter us from our mission.
The World Youth Day pilgrimage has strengthened my Catholic faith, and I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to the CMM Brothers for affording me the opportunity to participate, to the Ambassadors WWB in Namibia for selecting me as one of the participants, to Archbishop Liborius Nashenda for endorsing my participation, my parish priest and to all those who upheld me in their prayers, seeking my good health and ability to partake in the World Youth Day.
I am committed to sharing what I have experienced, so that others may join in praising the Lord our God for His good works and serve Him.
Calistus Mahindi, Ambassador WWB Namibia
This WYD has left a big impact in my life. It was a time of reflection, transformation, renewal and rediscovering of who I am in life . It taught me how to die to myself and accept, appreciate and value each and everyone. It also taught me how to be grounded and stand firm in my Catholic faith.
Sr. Krispina Shilulu, WWB Namibia
This being my first World Youth Day, it was so beautiful. I don’t think I can find words enough to describe it. I saw and experienced God love in its purest form. Through the mother church in all the efforts put in and through his people. Those I came across and the entire crowd of over a million people. The atmosphere was filled with a peace indescribable, calmness and so much humility. This touched my whole being so deeply that I want to strive living my life as the most precious daughter of God and to never leave his presence. I can only do my part, to show and spread the love of Christ to all I meet as an Ambassador of a worldwide brotherhood.