On the 26th of March 2022, the ACTS (Association of Catholic Tertiary Students) National Chaplain Fr Mthembeni Dlamini CMM, together with the Executive members, Mr Onnalenna Kenosi (ACTS President) and Ms Boipelo Dladla (Secretary for Media and Publicity) and Ms Gladness Mashubuka (Interdioceasan Youth Chairperson) and Mr Lesego Zikhali (Interdioceasan Youth Vice-chairperson), went to Mpumalanga for the launch of the new ACTS branch within the Diocese of Witbank.
The program of the day started at 10am at St Peters Catholic Church, in Mbombela, with the history of how the ACTS branch came into formation at the University of Mpumalanga. The idea to form a branch was inspired by the groups that attended the Mini World Youth Day in Durban, said Sinethemba Nkosi. From there, they were under the leadership and guidance of the Limpopo Province.
This was then followed by a letter of commitment from the parish and a letter from ACTS which were read consecutively. Mr Patrick Nwobu (PPC Chairperson) read the letter of commitment which expressed their gratitude as being the chosen home parish of the newly launched branch and granted permission to UMP to conduct all activities and committed themselves to be the ACTS support structure and the ACTS National Secretary for Media and Publicity, Ms Boipelo Dladla read the letter of approval from the National Executive stating that the University of Mpumalanga officially meet the requirements to be recognised as a branch and asked them to keep the link with the Diocesan Office and reminded them they still remain under the leadership of the Limpopo Province until they are ready to stand as a province.
The Bishop of the Witbank Diocese, Bishop Xolelo Thaddeus Kumalo concluded the launch by acknowledging the students as people who are preparing themselves to be leaders within and outside the church, and he further added that as we launch the branch in the University Mpumalanga, students need to be evangelisers and it should show in their attitude that they know Christ. He therefore officially declared the University of Mpumalanga an ACTS branch within the Witbank Diocese, and added that with the help of the Chaplain whom is yet to be appointed, the leaders of the branch be helpers of those who come after them, even during the hard times.
The day continued with the Eucharist Celebration with Bishop Kumalo as the main celebrant, Fr Dlamini and Fr Sipho Mavimbela, the Parish Priest of St Peter’s Catholic Church as con-celebrants and other priests, Fr Sello Makgale and Fr Dixie Ngamone.
During his homily, Bishop Kumalo mentioned that as Catholics, we need to pray for unity within our association and the Church. He continued to advice those who lead the branch, to become understanding even when it is difficult and remain humble and walk closer to our Lord and be like the sinner who felt he needed to be far from God but has God within himself.
After the homily, Fr Dlamini inducted the new branch leadership and the branch members at large, the leadership took the Oath into office and they professed their faith, and he made a joke by saying the new branch is indeed a ACTS branch after he said that they must prove whether they are vocally wounded or not.
During the announcements, the ACTS National President Mr Onalenna Kenosi (on the picture) gave the closing remarks by congratulating the newly launched branch of University of Mpumalanga and said “We as the NEC look forward to working closely with you and guiding you in this journey.”
In closing Fr Dlamini handed over 3 documents (Christus Vivit, Evangelii Gaudium and Gaudete et exsultate) to the leadership. He continued and said “We sometimes don’t find enough commitment from the young people themselves, whereas young people are the key drivers of the Ministry. Now that the branch is recognised, do not detach yourself from the Diocesan Youth Office. You are first the youth or young adult of the Diocese before you are ACTS.” Mthunzi Manda (Youth Co-ordinator) gave the vote of thanks and promised that they will work on another branch to be recognised as a province. After Mass the ACTS National Executive spent time with the branch. Halala! Mpumalanga Halala!
By: Ms Boipelo Dladla (The ACTS National Secretary for Media and Publicity)