CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 9 December 2017

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Young, English-speaking and World Youth Day

HONG KONG (SE): Dozens of young people from across the diocese joined an event sponsored by the Diocesan English Youth on April 9, Palm Sunday, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception to begin the celebration of the 32nd World Youth Day, which is scheduled to be held in Panama in 2019.

During World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland, last year, Pope Francis announced that the three-year lead-up to the event in Panama would be a journey with Mother Mary and that each year, young people would be invited to reflect on a theme.

This year, young people came together to contemplate Mary’s Magnificat when she said, “The Mighty One has done great things for me and holy is his name” (Luke 1:49).

As teenagers and other participants filed into a fifth floor meeting room at the cathedral parish, huffing and puffing from the hike up, some wondered what this first diocesan World Youth Day among young English-speaking people in Hong Kong would hold for them.

All apprehensions quickly disappeared as young people bonded over a few of the usual icebreakers, like charades and telephone games. Laughter quickly replaced any tension in the room.

Each group was then asked to put its creative juices to work and make something—a poem, art work or something else that creatively expressed a short excerpt of the Magnificat and two other unrelated words or names (which could be anything from dinosaur to Tom Cruise).

Difficult as this sounds, the groups were up for the challenge and whipped up masterpieces.

“We face a lot of different situations in our lives, some seemingly unrelated to scripture or our faith, but through this activity, we want to show that our faith really speaks to our situations, whatever they may be,” Mika Gallardo, one of the organisers from the Diocesan English Youth, explained.

Following these activities, participants processed around the cathedral in a modified five-station way of the cross in which they reflected on Jesus’ passion.

They were encouraged to place themselves in the shoes of people like Peter as he denied Jesus; Simon of Cyrene, who carried Jesus’ cross; and the repentant thief.

The day culminated in a time of quiet reflection and journaling. In the candlelit Youth Room, participants faced the cross and sang Taizé songs while contemplating how God has done great things for them in their lives, just as Mary had proclaimed.

Following a day of fellowship and reflection, everyone left with smiles and hearts filled with joy.

Apart from events like this, the Diocesan English Youth which travels under the acronym DEY, brings together young people from all over Hong Kong through other activities, most notably the Eucharistic adoration, which is held on the first Tuesday of every month at Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish in Wanchai.

This is an opportunity for faithful, young Catholics especially to wind down from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and spend time with the Lord.

Those who are interested can come and go anytime between 8.00pm and 10.00pm; the sacrament of reconciliation is also available.

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