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Presenting various points from the Church documents, General Chapter documents and Provincial chapter documents, the Vice Provincial poke about the importance of this dimension in the Youth Pastoral Ministry. He stressed that the dimension of Evangelization and Catechesis is one of the important and fundamental dimensions of Youth Pastoral Ministry. He highlighted the fact about Don Bosco, who began his mission with a simple catechism lesson. “Emulating Don Bosco we are called to proclaim the unfathomable riches of God to the young. The definition of his mission is how we live our consecrated life and how much are we convinced of the same translated into becoming an evangelizer to communicate the Good News. We need to be evangelized before we evangelize. People whom we serve and who encounter us should find in us God-centric persons. Though the ministry is vast we can think in terms of how we can expand through realistic reflection and actualization. Usually there will be more meetings and less action. At the end the outcome will be less.”
Fr. Bosco exhorted that this department can become a unique one. “Let this commission focus its activities in the rural presences through the four regions: Chennai, Vellore, Tirupattur, and Pondy,” he suggested.
“In view of carrying out the mission in a concrete manner the commission can focus its attention for conducting catechism classes both in the school sector and parish sector. It could consist of finding out the regularity of the classes, following syllabus, training of the teachers, and the involvement of the Salesians etc. It is noted that in some of the Salesian parishes, the Sunday catechesis is ineffective and the participation of the children is on the decrease,” said Fr. Bosco, who explained that the role of the regional coordinator is to see to the dimension of evangelization and catechesis is taken care of in the various regions.
Fr. Don Bosco then presented some points that emerged from the discussions in the Parish Priests’ meeting. They were:
The faith levels of the adults were superficial. Addiction of youth to various sorts were prevalent and it is on the increase. There was a change of mindset among the parish priests. There was a failure in giving importance to the faith formation of the children. There was a lack of animation and guidance of Anbiams. The emotional aspects of the youth were not addressed.
He said that the Altar servers should be taken seriously. The youth should be encouraged to join in pious associations of Christian formation. The Parishes should encourage the Catholic families to care of the children in the formation of faith.
“You can also take into consideration the above-mentioned points for your planning. Discuss and come out with lines of action that are realistic, time-bound, verifiable and that can be implemented. Besides you can also take the theme of youth in view of the synod. In each of the sectors find out the situation both positive and negative, work out goals, objective, strategies, and lines of action,” said the Vice-Provincial who congratulated the members and warmly exhorted them to do well.
If they are animated well they could become good platforms for faith formation of various categories, especially the adults. Sometime faith formation doesn’t take place due lack of preparation and participation as there are many expectations from the people. The Parish Youth could be made more involved in social service activities, choir and entertainment. Spending time with them would help to get to know their concerns, especially that pertain to their faith and spiritual life.
Many youngsters of other faiths show more affinity towards the Catholic religion, due to the attachment they have for the Salesians. A common programme could be organized where everyone could be more involved.
In the youth centres prayer is given less importance. Since, in some youth centres there is an increase in the number of participants, games, talks, animation, special programmes on Sundays and Feast days and holidays could be organized. These could become moments of Evangelization
The members present were Fr. Clement Ignatius - Commission Head, Fr. Santhosam John - Provincial Councilor for the Commission, Fr. Parthibanraj Soosai - Department Head of the Commission, Fr. Rajan - Coordinator for Chennai Region, Fr. Arockiadass - Coordinator for Tirupattur Region, and Fr. Sitrarasu - Coordinator for Vellore Region. Father Kirubagaran Rathinasamy - Coordinator for Pondy Region was unable to attend.