CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Young people urged not to miss the big picture

By Mika Gallardo

HONG KONG (SE): For today’s teenagers, the drive to succeed is constantly nagging them. However, success is only part of the big picture.


This was what Father Chad Boulton, senior chaplain of Ampleforth College, a boarding school in England, came to tell the English-speaking Catholic young people of Hong Kong. He was joined by a few students from his school.


Addressing around 30 young people on March 25 at a Diocesan English Youth event held at Rosary parish, Tsimshatsui, Father Boulton spoke about maintaining a Christian identity in the diverse culture of Hong Kong.


He told them that being successful is one way of coping, but that focussing solely on success is going off track from what God has in store. He reminded them that they should be aware of the world around them and to not miss the big picture.


Quoting from St. Paul, Father Boulton said, “Our home is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20) and gave three tips on what it means to live in our home.


First, he said to free yourself from any addictions; second, build your life through prayer and by listening to God; and third, make use of your life through service.


He told the young people present that life is a perpetual Lent and that they must constantly prepare themselves to meet God in heaven. Using the scaffolding on a building as a metaphor, he said that when people die, the scaffolding is taken away and they stand naked in front of God.


The youth day activity began with a brief praise and worship session. After his talk, Father Boulton introduced a game in which the participants had to make quick decisions between two options such as coke or lemon tea—and decide which was worse, a hopeless world or a loveless world.


Father Boulton used the game to demonstrate that people have a tendency to react the way others do, but encouraged the young people to instead be honest and make decisions in spite of what others may think.


After a Lectio Divina, the day concluded with a Quiz the Priest session, where Father Boulton was joined by Maryknoll Father Mike Sloboda, from Rosary parish, and Divine Word Father Charlton Plateros and Claretian Father Josekutty Matthew, from the Diocesan Youth Commission, in answering questions from the young people.


They asked things like, “What made you decide to become a priest?” and “What is the meaning of life?”


Father Sloboda shared that as a child, he wanted to become an astronaut, but found out when he was 13-years-old that he couldn’t. He joked that he had to find another way to get to heaven.


Father Plateros explained that he had been nurse, but that now he not only saves lives, but also souls. He added that life takes on a different meaning when you give it to God and trust in him.


Father Boulton encouraged the gathering to “keep your head up, keep listening and your path will be clear.”



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