CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 18 May 2019

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Being Catholic young and English-speaking

HONG KONG (SE): The third Diocesan English Youth (DEY) joint Mass and fellowship afternoon was held at St. Teresa’s parish in Kowloon on May 12.

The St. Teresa’s English-speaking Youth Group, (STAY—St. Teresa’s Awesome Youth), hosted the event under the theme, Go and Tell.

It took the verse, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. And remember I will be with you till the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).

During the afternoon the 30 young people present were challenged to answer God’s call to be missionary.

After some games to break the ice, a few young people from STAY shared about being a disciple, a witness and a missionary.

The first spoke of coming up to her confirmation day with few, if any, expectations. She said that she had always felt that being a Catholic was extremely routine.

However, after joining a confirmation retreat organised by her catechists, she felt close to God and filled with his love and realised a lot more about the meaning of confirmation. She said that being a disciple of Jesus is a choice and by saying yes, you accept his invitation to be his follower.

The second young person talked about using his musical talent to be God’s instrument and witness. He shared that despite being praised for his contributions to the choir, he didn’t feel he was a good enough musician and often beat himself up for every little mistake.

After deciding to let the Spirit lead him, he grew confident and started to accept the compliments he received. He said that being a witness through his music gives him a reason to improve and do better. He also hopes that through his witnessing, God will be able to touch the hearts of more and more people.

The third young person spoke of a moment of doubt when classmates at her new school questioned her faith, saying that she hated homosexuals because she was a Catholic.

As a result, her classmates ignored her and, in turn, she ignored them. She had grown up in a religious environment and never had any reason to question her faith, so she didn’t know how to handle the situation.

One Sunday in her youth group, the subject of homosexuality was touched on and she found out the Church’s stand on the issue was not at all what her classmates presumed.

She also realised that she had not been a good Christian, as she had been ignoring her classmates. She shared that being a missionary means keeping the attitudes of a good Christian, despite what others may feel, think or say.

To conclude the sharing session, another STAY member reminded the young people present that saying yes to God’s call is entering a partnership with God, one that he will never abandon.

She said that in the midst of doubt and pressure, it is always important to remember that God is with you every step of the way and to use him as a defence against the doubts and pressures of society.

Afterwards, the participants separated into groups to reflect on the sharing from the four young people and exchange their own stories of being a missionary in their lives.

Some shared about how they sometimes feel alone on their journey, being the only active Catholic in their school. They talked about how being a Catholic can become a wall separating them from their peers.

Peers or classmates may not understand their faith and it hinders a deeper relationship from forming. Another young person shared how being confident in her faith led her classmates to ask her about it and she was able to speak with them and explain a bit about being a follower of Christ.

The fellowship continued with a short Taizé prayer and Lectio Divina, after which participants proceeded to the church for a Mass concelebrated by Father Charlton Plateros, Father Mike Sloboda and Father Josekutty Matthew.

At the end of the Mass, the vision and mission of the DEY was read and the cross, which travels with the young people to their gatherings, was passed on the next host group, the Couples for Christ Youth for Family and Life from Annunciation parish in Tsuen Wan.

The usual turn out for DEY days is about 60 or so, but because this one was on Mothers’ Day many young people had family obligations and could not make it.

However, the next big DEY event will be a lot more physical. It will be a Holympics, sports day, and is scheduled for September.

 

 

 

Mika Gallardo

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