Catholic Youth Ministers gather for Animators Seminar
Boroko, Port Moresby: The Youth Commission of the Catholic Bishops Conference, conducted a National Youth Animators Seminar (NYAS) from Monday to Friday, 19th to 23rd March 2018. The seminar was held at Emmaus Conference Centre in Boroko, Port Moresby. 22 Youth animators from 13 different dioceses of Papua New Guinea participated in the program.
The Year of Youth 2018, is an opportunity to help young people understand and live their faith and assure them that they are the ‘crown’ and ‘joy’ of the church.
The week-long seminar, had as its theme: ‘Called to the fullness of Life and Love’. “It was aimed at bringing together the youth animators to enable them to interact, network and gain insight into assisting young people as they journey through the turmoils and struggles of their lives. Stress was laid on the Catholic identity, with a strong emphasis on living their Catholic life with the Eucharist and Sacrament of Reconciliation and helping the young to understand the need for committed love and preparing them for the Sacrament of Matrimony”, said Fr. Ambrose Pereira sdb, CBC Communications and Youth Secretary.
The Apostolic Nuncio to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, Archbishop Kurian Vayalunkal, Bp Rochus Tatamai MSC and Bp Rolando Santos of the diocese of Alotau-Sideia were among the guest speakers at the seminar.
The first day of the program saw Bp Rochus Tatamai present on Christ the Evangelizer to young people evangelizing the Church. Bp Rochus reminded each participant to spend more time in prayer with the Lord and reflect on the live culture today. “As a Melanesian”, said Bp Rochus, “we need to highlight the good that is present in our culture and evangelize what is contrary to Catholic life, principles, doctrine and teachings”.
The second day started off with a Eucharistic celebration led by Bp Pedro Baquero of the Diocese of Kerema. At the session following the Eucharistic celebration, Fr. Ambrose invited the participants to reflect on their goal and vision of their ‘Youth Ministry’. The session concluded with a Papua New Guinean Youth organisation, The Voice Inc., sharing on Life and Culture of Today’s Young People. They focused on young people’s interest in politics and the use of social media. They stated that “young people are leaders in creating the future today.”
The session on ‘Youth Leadership’, by Sr Ria Versario fma was enjoyable and reflective. It included interactive and lively outdoor activities. “Youngsters love to be with adults who are happy, encouraging, enthusiastic and positive. We teach them by our example. Greet them, talk to them and smile at them”, she said as she encouraged the animators to waste time with the young.
At the Eucharist on the third morning, Bp Roland shared his vocation story, the struggles and the cross that has shaped him into the person he is today. Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Kurian Vayalunkal, addressed the participants and highlighted the responsibility of a youth animator and the need to nurture this responsibility in the young. “As animators, you are to help the youth make proper choices in their life,” His Excellency stated.
The session entitled, ‘True Love Waits, dwelt on the variety of relationships in Life. It highlighted the basic types of relationships. “These relationships need to be clearly understood by our young people. It is unfortunate that many people equate friendship with sexual relationship. As animators we need to help our young people integrate infatuation into the rest of their relationships”, said Fr. Ambrose.
Preparing our young people for committed Love, was beautifully presented by Sheryll Isoaimo. In her very informative and grounded session entitled, “Youth Ministry and Marriage”, she presented a survey and highlighted the need for the church to prepare young people for marriage. “The church and above all Youth Ministry should fill the gap where today's families are inadequate”, said Sheryll. Youth programs need to include the remote, proximate and immediate preparation for marriage. This should enable young people enter into a positive celebration of their marriage. Her presentation concluded with the ‘Live Pure’ program that challenged young people not to engage in sexual relationships with the one they love till their love is sealed in the Sacrament of Matrimony. It was wonderful to note that a commitment to live pure was also made at the commitment session.
On the fourth day Bp Rolando Santos CM invited the participants to imitate the shining example of Mary, the perfect disciple of Christ. His talk, ‘Continuing the mission of Christ in the footsteps of Mary’ touched on the various events in the life of Our Blessed Mother. “May we learn to be disciples of Christ and continue his mission on earth,” said Bp Rolando.
“A positive attitude is what young people need to learn to develop”, said Sr Aurora Yolanda Pugal, ssj in her presentation on ‘Youth Direction’. Youth animators need to help young people move from their weakness and use their strengths to bring about the change they desire.
Media sessions were also held throughout the programs. Posters and photographs conveying positive messages were prepared by the participants. “Use the media to convey a positive message and capture the emotion of the event”, said Fr. Ambrose. A modern day parable entitled, ‘The lost son from Mendi’ was recorded with the help of Fr Paul Kote and his team from Radio Maria. Sessions at the program also included reflections on the Strenna of the Rector Major with its two important aspects on Listening and Accompanying the young.
Challenged, encouraged, refreshed and with new insights, the animators have returned to empower the young people of their own diocese.