Monday, 1 September 2003

Bangalore (Fides Service) – Reflection, sharing, fraternity, intercultural and interreligious dialogue, prayer, music and song: these were the ingredients of the third Asian Youth Meeting held in Bangalore, Karnataka state, southern India from 9 to 16 August. The event, which had the theme “Asian Youth for Peace”, was promoted by the Conference of the Catholic Bishops of India in collaboration with the Federation of Bishops’ Conferences of Asia FABC. Some 10,000 young people participated coming from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Laos, Cambodia, Mongolia, Korea, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, as well as a large group of young representatives from every diocese in India.
Carrying to the meeting the greetings of Pope John Paul II, Archbishop Lopez Quintana, Nuncio in India, said “The Holy Father believes in you! Asia is a land of promise and hope for humanity. Asian Youth Day is a miniature World Youth Day. We need your joy of life: remember that you are taking part in the renewal of society and of life.”. During the opening Mass the Youth Day Cross, which had been taken across India to visit every diocese in preparation for the event was brought up to the altar. Professor Dada Vaswani from Pune spoke on the theme “Youth walking to peace”, and he said “peace in the world depends on unselfishness not politics. Peace is the music of life. To obtain peace we must follow the notes of peace: love, equality, tolerance, compassion, putting aside nationalism, racism and exploitation”.
The event was enriched by an exhibition of objects made by young people from the different countries examples of local culture and traditions, and by a Prayer Vigil led by the Taize Community.
Taking part in seminars the young delegates reflected on what young people in Asia can do to promote reconciliation in a number of Asian countries torn by war, ethic and civil conflict, social disorder, and create a culture of peace. To broaden the subject of peace, young people of other religions Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims were also invited to reflect and celebrate with the Christian youth.
During work sessions young participants reflected on the four pillars of peace listed in Pope John XXIII’s encyclical “Pacem in Terris” (Truth, Justice, Love and Freedom). The youngsters also discussed problems such as globalisation, war on terrorism, Aids, drug abuse and alcoholism damage to the environment, unemployment, fundamentalism, consumerism, crisis of values.
On the final days of the meeting several Indian political leaders brought greetings of peace and harmony, but the warmest welcome was given to the Superior of the Missionaries of Charity, (Mother Teresa’s Sisters) Sister Nirmala Joshi, who told those present: “Dear young people, what have you to fear knowing that you have the Good Lord who loves you and cares for you? You are the hope of the nations”.
(PA)(Fides Service 1/9/2003 lines 35 words 484)