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Young people on spiritual advancement

  • Desmond Agilo


Port Moresby:The Dicastery of Youth & Family Life at the Vatican, invited two delegates from each episcopal Bishop’s Conference around the world to attend the International Youth Forum hosted in Rome from the 19thto the 22ndof June, 2019.


The Youth Board of the Bishop’s Conference of Papua New Guinea, selected the young solo delegate, Mr. Desmond Peter Aigilo, a Lawyer with the Simpson Lawyers, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. He was the committed and dynamic face of young people at the event.


“It has been a very symbolic journey for me”, said Mr. Aigilo.  “I was not leaving home, but I was going home”, said Desmond as he reflected on his trip to Rome.


His uplifting encounter with the Holy Father, Pope Francis, has been a spiritual advancement. “I shook hands with the Vicar of Christ and this has encouraged me to do what I can to share and implement the Apostolic exhortation “Chrsitis Vivit”.


Young people and Christus Vivit

Desmond was part of a six-member team on the Youth Forum panel on the exhortation of the Apostolic Exhortation of the Holy Father,Christus Vivit. It promotes the need for young people to be included in decision-making in the life of the Church and highlights the importance of the youthfulness of youth to the life of the Church.


The Dicastery is interested in seeing the aspirations of the exhortation come to fruition. This desire invites the Church to expand more resources and efforts in addressing the issues faced by the youth, developing their faith and ultimately involving them as main key-players in the life and work of the Church.


In speaking at the forum, Mr. Aigilo expressed how the Bishops Conference of PNG and Solomon Islands were slowly implementing the exhortation whilst faced with limitations on resources and an established framework. However, he applauded his Conference for the measures they had already taken in their effort to train young leaders from Catholic Schools. He agreed that this effort taken by the Conference was the way forward, as it invites the Church to educate the youth about their faith, convictions and build the necessary virtues and characteristics to enable them to undertake and move into leadership roles within the Church in a more compatible way.


The panel received comments of appreciation for their frankness, clarity, personal assessment and opinions on the present stage and state of the implementation process of the exhortation.

In concluding his address to the delegates, Mr. Aigilo thanked the other panelists for their sharing and stated that he was concerned to about the amount of effort needed to implement the exhortation.


Insights and plans ahead

“Several countries are experiencing what Papua New Guinea is experiencing.  An insignificant amount of resources budgeted towards youth ministry.  A lack of pastoral action by the Bishops.  Lack of discernment by the Church of the issues being faced by young people. And of course, a lack of inclusiveness of the voice of young people in the Church,” said Mr. Aigilo as he expressed his awareness of the concerns being raised by delegates of other regions and countries around the world. 


Mr. Aigilo expressed that he believes that the world will shift if youths are shown their importance in the Church and in life in general. He said that as long as the Bishops and the Clergy remain ignorant of the need to educate the youth to understand their role and importance in the life of the Church, young people will continue to grow ignorant of the convictions of their faith and water down their sense of morality and ethics and before they know it, they are adults making the wrong decisions which will result in the destruction of their children’s future.


Mr. Aigilo expressed that he’s immediate plans to ensure that the exhortation of Christus Vivitis implemented with the help of the hierarchy of the Church – from the Catholic Bishops Conference down to every Basic Christian Community, but not necessarily in that order.


“Countries like Uganda have implemented the exhortation “marvelously” throughout their Conference’s region.  The Conference of Switzerland has taken in young adults to partake in decision-making at the Conference level. I expect nothing less from our Conference”, he concluded.

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