Diphu (Fides Service) – “Young people on mission to other young people” initiatives are being undertaken by a number of Indian dioceses in preparation for Asian Youth Day in Bangalore 9-16 August 2003. The major youth event is promoted by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India in collaboration with the Asian Bishops’ Conference. More than 1000 young delegates are expected to gather to reflect on the theme “Young people in Asia for Peace”.
One most significant experience is being lived in Diphu diocese in north east India. The Diocesan Youth Commission has organised youth mission to rural youth focussing on “education, evangelisation, vocational orientation and group experience, in view of integral development and happiness and building a health social-cultural and spiritual environment in the light of the Gospel”, explains the Commission’s chairman Father Tom Mangattuthazhe.
“We believe that change in society and development and growth of our region can only take place when youth come out of their shells and transform society,” he continues. “We challenge young people to be the light of society, advocates of peace not of war, of love not of hatred, of generosity not of selfishness, of respect for human not of destruction.”
The plan of evangelisation is for youth to speak to youth. “Many of our young missioners go from village to village stopping for a couple of days. They find it easy to make contact with non Christian youth, they tell them about Christ and his Church, new communities are built. Based on prayer listening to the Word of God.”
In preparation for Asian Youth Day, youth mission focuses on announcing peace and justice, themes to which young people are very sensitive. In fact during Asian Youth Day the young participants will reflect on ways and means for young people to promote reconciliation in the different countries of Asia, disrupted by wars, ethnic and civil conflicts, social disorder, to create an authentic culture of peace and the local and global level.
This Catholic event will be attended also by other young Christians as well as young members of other religions, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and followers of traditional religions. Guided by sessions and seminars the participants will reflect on the four pillars of peace indicated in the Pacem in Terris encyclical Truth, Justice, Love and Freedom considered at the individual, community, national and universal level. Discussion will also deal with practical questions which affect the world of youth: globalisation, war on terrorism, AIDS, drug abuse and alcohol, environment pollution, unemployment, fundamentalism, consumerism and values crisis. PA (Fides Service 30/6/2003 EM lines 41 Words: 476)