Catholic Church Prioritises the Spiritual Formation of Children and Youth

Little Soldiers of Christ the King


Southern Africa Catholic Bishops’ Conference Focuses Attention to the Spiritual Wellbeing of the Youth and Children.

Investing for better life in the future is the concern of any institution. There is no doubt that the Catholic Church in recent years, especially in the SACBC region, has seen the mushrooming of different sodalities and associations in its parishes, and the flourishing in number of the existing ones, as a sign that spiritual hunger in our society is a reality.Many Catholic faithful, like the faithful of other religious denominations, are living in the world which is becoming more and more secular. The sense of God in many public spheres is being slowly rejected, limited and pushed to the confines of the official gatherings of the faithful only. For example, in South Africa there has been a hot debate for a long time to prevent the practice of religion in public schools.

One may ask why now the government in South Africa strongly stands against the practice of religion in the public schools, while the church for hundreds of years, through the influence of religious values, has moulded many quality people and leaders of our nation. Of course in many instances there are lot abuses to the vulnerable in the name of religions.

One of the challenges facing South Africa, like other quick developing countries is the fact that life is so fast and gives no enough time for one to do personal reflection. Competition is so high in all spheres of the society, as much as the quick technological developments have an upper hand to some of the added challenges.

Religious which was considered for hundreds of years as the testament of life is now being directly and indirectly rejected and side-lined by many. While the name of God is still being professed in church gatherings and other platforms of prayer, there is a growing dichotomy of what people profess and the reality of what they live and practice.

The adherence to different laws associated with different religious denominations have become a challenge to many in practice, as the world outside dictates different rules and standards which are totally different from what they have to practice according to their religious principles. For example, the Catholic Church strongly condemns cohabitation and clearly say there is no concept of divorce in her circles, but the reality is that the countless number of people continue to divorce and cohabitation is seen as normal practice because this is what the general society has adopted as the way to go. The right and the wrong of this has been relativized, and as this happens marriage commitments are becoming scarce every day.

Today more than any time in history, South Africa is experiencing the high rise of single parenting of children, as majority of mothers prefer to take it a single way than opting for marriage which they consider it to be one of the terrible migraines of our time. How do religious institutions cope with this negative reality? How does it restore the lost values and the sense of commitment to each between men and women in marriage?

The truth about the kind of society we are living in today is that children and young people have become more vulnerable and suffer all the consequences of the outcomes. They have little knowledge of the good of family life because they rarely see that in their daily life.

As a response to this challenge the new concept of moral regeneration in our society is gaining momentum on different platforms, but the question is can we really restore the lost values and practices in the spheres of our society?

The Catholic Church, together with other relevant collaborators is in the out to pay attention to the development of children and youth, so that a better and quality society is regenerated out of this challenges. The aim of this focus is to restore the hope of young people that there is more to be achieved and attained than what they perceive as the way of life in the society they have found themselves.

This kind of awareness focusing on the children and young people, hopefully will help them to have a balanced life, which will help them to live a quality life and be able make quality choices as they grow up.

The Catholic sodality of Masolenyana is one of the few sodalities of its nature in the Catholic Church, which caters for children wellbeing and spiritual growth. The reference of their style of life is centred on four pillars: Prayer, Love for Eucharist, total commitment to God and service to the church and the society at large.

The spiritual role model of Masolenyana is St Maria Goretti, a prominent figure for the life of purity in the life of these young people. Purity, therefore is emphasised to their style of life so that they are able to pave a better way for quality choices in the future.

Masolenyana a Kriste Morena simply means the little soldiers of Christ. The sodality is very strong in the neighbouring of Lesotho, where it was adopted by South Africa. It is very strong now in different SACBC Dioceses, but very strong in the Archdioceses of Bloemfontein, Pretoria and Johannesburg.

Because of the lacking spirituality for young people as they grow older, the Archdiocese of Pretoria took a resolution about two years ago that, as children who grow to the stage of teenage hood in the same sodality of Masolenyane they should continue living the same way of life until the time when they are able to make independent choices to join other elderly sodalities in the church. As they enter this stage they are helped with the spiritual and social formation, so that they are able to address different challenges of life through the help of this spiritual support of four pillar plus pure lifestyle.

Masolenyana a Kriste Morena, during the past weekend of 24-26th November gathered in Nellmapius in the Archdiocese of Pretoria for their annual conference, where both the children and the grown up come together in prayer and share experiences of life, under the guidance of spiritual directors and adult supportive bodies.

For More information contact:

Meshack Mashau (Pretoria Archdiocese of Masolenyana): 0790108440

Fr Paul Tatu (Pretoria Archdiocese Chaplain of Masolenyana): 0787536264










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