Gaborone Youth take to the Hill for Our Lady
By Sr Phatsimo Ramokgwebana SC – Almost 1000 young people in Gaborone diocese took on the challenge of a 12km rosary walk ending with an ascent of Kgale Hill outside the city.
The walk celebrated both the Day of the African Child, which commemorates the 1976 student uprising in South Africa, and World Youth Day 2018, part of preparations for the international rally to be held on 2019 World Youth Day in Panamá.
Walkers, both youth and priests, started from Holy Cross parish in Mogoditshane at 06:30 and ended with a climb up the hill and a Eucharistic celebration.
On their way, they recited the prayer of the Holy Rosary and sung Marian hymns.
Chiro Youth Movement
This year, the Chiro Youth Movement was the host of the rosary walk and participants were encouraged to go for confession in their parishes beforehand.
In an interview, diocesan youth chaplain Fr Phemelo M Magibisela described the walk and climbing of the hill as a “challenge” the youth had set for themselves, significantly walking the life of Christ through the eyes of Mary.
At the Eucharistic service atop the hill, Fr Anthony Rebello SVD gave the sermon.
The theme of 2018 World Youth Day was “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God” and Fr Rebello emphasised the need for young people not to be afraid, knowing that each one is called by name, just like Mary. Similarly, favour is upon each one of them.
He also said the rosary is deeply based on scriptural prayer, a meditation on the life of Christ. The Hail Mary, which contains the words spoken to her by the angel Gabriel and by her cousin Elizabeth, announces who Jesus, the centre of the prayer, will be, and also Mary’s role.
Fr Rebello, former chaplain of the Chiro Movement of Gaborone diocese, is well known among young people as a priest who always carries a rosary.
He has encouraged them to pray the rosary daily, to receive the protection and graces of Our Lady, and lead them to a deeper personal relationship with Jesus through Mary.