Bangalore (Fides Service) – Everything is ready in Bangalore for the Asian Youth meeting, 9-16 August which will have the theme Asian Youth for Peace. The event is promoted by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Asia and the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences FABC. “The participants will far surpass the expected number: we are now expecting at least 10,000 representing many countries of Asia. Delegations have been confirmed from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Laos, Cambodia, Mongolia, Korea, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and of course all the dioceses of India”, Bendict Jaikumar, Asia Youth Meeting communications officer tells Fides Service. , “the number of participants continues to rise”.
The event is of major importance for the Church in Asia: among those present for the opening celebration Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana, Nuncio Apostolic in India; Bishop Cyril Baselios, President of the Indian Bishops’ Conference; Mons. Martinus Situmorang, Indonesian, President of the FABC youth commission. Special guest Sr Nirmala Joshi, Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity who will give a talk on “Mother Teresa and youth”.
In Bangalore the organisers and many young volunteer helpers are preparing tents, posters and scenery. As for the World Youth day events, a large Youth Day Cross is being carried through the dioceses of Indian gathering young people in prayer in preparation for the Day. The Cross has already been through other countries in Asia. In Bangalore, the young people will stay with local families, as is the custom with World Youth Day events
In the meantime young people are evangelising their peers. In Diphu diocese, north east India the Youth Pastoral Commission led by Father Tom Mangattuhazhe, has organised a mission for youth in rural areas with dialogue and discussion groups “to open their lives to all round development social-cultural and spiritual, in the light of the Gospel”, he told Fides Service.
“The meeting will be spectacle of colours, races and cultures of young people gathered together in the same spirit” says Peter Chung Chi-Kin, Director of the Youth Pastoral Centre of Macao diocese who will accompany a large group of Chinese young people to India. “We have prepared for the Day with monthly meetings since the beginning of the year. The young people are enthusiastic at the thought of this experience of communion and sharing with youth from all over Asia. It will an opportunity for them to get to know other cultures and to broaden the horizons of the Church’s mission”.
The delegations will reflect on the four pillars of peace indicated in Pacem in Terris encyclical: Truth, Justice, Love and Freedom considered at the different levels: individual, community, nation and universal. Discussion will also focus on matters which affect the world of youth: globalisation, war on terrorism, AIDS, drug abuse, alcoholism, ecological unbalance, unemployment, fundamentalism. Consumerism, crisis of values. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 24/7/2003 lines 40 words 500)