MUHANGA – The Bishop of Kabgayi Diocese, Smaragde Mbonyintege, has encouraged the youth to abstain or be faithful to their partners as a way of fighting HIV/Aids and unwanted pregnancies.
Mbonyintege was speaking Thursday at the official opening of a National Catholic Youth Forum in Muhanga District.
The four-day gathering was organized by the Rwanda Interfaith Network against HIV/Aids (RCLS) and attracted over 1,600 youth from Burundi, Kenya, DR Congo, and hosts Rwanda.
“The Church wants to see youth who are rooted in Christ and choose abstinence over any other method in combating health-related threats that they face today,” he said.
Mbonyintege noted that the forum discussions should empower participants with decisiveness in life, so as to take their rightful place in the struggle to build the nation.
The Catholic youth forum was initiated by late Pope John Paul II, and is the 10th forum to be held in Rwanda. Organisers say the gathering is a follow-up of the World Catholic youth forum, which took place in Madrid recently.
“The objective is to bring Catholic youths together so as to support each other, and work together in addressing cross-cutting issues affecting their communities,” said Father Charles Hakorimana, a youth coordinator.
Leontine Uwera, an official from the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, said the forum should help device mechanisms for addressing HIV/Aids and family planning issues.
Sandrine Mukeshimana, a representative of the Burundi Catholic Church, noted that spiritual revival among the youth and restoration of Biblical values and teachings were key to the youth’s campaign against HIV/Aids.