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  • Junneith Vavaua

Youths in Solomon Islands celebrate World Youth Day

Tetere, Solomon Islands: Following the exhortation of Pope Francis to celebrate World Youth Day 2021 in local churches and dioceses, Catholic youths from the Deanery came together for the WYD celebrations from 2nd–5th December 2021 at the Don Bosco Rural Technical Centre Tetere, Solomon Islands.

Despite the political unrest and extensive damages that just happened in the country, present for the four-day program were 450 Catholic youths from the Assumption of Mary Parish, Ruavatu; Good Shepherd Parish, Red Beach and the Salesian Parish of Christ the King, Tetere. The youth program had as its theme “Holy, Formed and Sent for Service.”

During the welcome address, Rector of DBRTC and Parish Priest of Christ the King Parish, Fr. Robinson Parappilly sdb, welcomed the youths and told them that they were living in a moment of uncertainty, deep hurt and a destroyed image of Christ. He challenged them that it was a time for them to rise up from all the damages and bring Christ and Christian values to the lives of other young people.

“We have to be messengers of peace in this country and regain the image of Solomon Islands”, he encouraged.

On the second day, Fr. Casper Charles, Rector of Don Bosco Technical Institute, addressed the young people on Laudato Si and the importance of looking after our common home. It was followed by Fr. Jacob Aba, a Marist priest who gave faith formation on Youth and Moral living. He spoke on the importance of Christian morality and upholding Christian principles. He exhorted them to abstain from drugs and illegal practices.

In the evening a recollection was preached by Fr. Robinson on the WYD message of Pope Francis, “Stand Up. I appoint you as a witness of what you have seen.” (Acts 26:16) based on the theme of conversion of St. Paul. There was also time for confession and reconciliation after which Bible quizzes, dances and songs continued on into the night.

The next day began with the Holy Mass which was dedicated to vocations for the Priesthood and Religious life, followed by a youth formation given by Fr. Robinson on the dangers of the Digital World and Addiction and a talk about Salesian vocation and religious life animated by Br. Tony and Sr. Claudia.

As a way of refreshing, games and Talent Night followed with cultural dances, dramas and songs as entertainment from different Catholic communities.

The four days program concluded on Sunday 5th of December with a Eucharistic Mass presided by Fr. Robinson and accompanied by a wonderful liturgy animated the youths of Tetere.

In his sermon Fr. Robinson gave an inspiring challenge to the young people. He said, "If the youth of this generation falls, humanity falls but if the youth arise then humanity arises; you as young people are the backbone of the church.”

He added that the youth have to give vitality and vigor to the Church and they need to arise and repent from old mistakes and Prepare to receive Jesus in their hearts and become great witnesses of the gospel in their parishes.”

The program ended with farewell songs being sung as the youths departed. The organizing committee were pleased to have spent the four days being inspired by the young people and extended their gratitude also to the ADMA parents who animated and prepared their meals for the four days.

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