CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 15 June 2019

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Young people strive to make their voice heard

HONG KONG (SE): The Diocesan Youth Commission of Hong Kong will launch a series of activities in response to the Year of Youth launched by the diocese as a complement to the 2018 Synod on Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment.
The Year of Youth, which began on the first Sunday of Advent, December 3, will end on the Solemnity of Christ the King, November 25 next year.
Holly Mok Ching-yee, the executive secretary of the commission, told the Kung Kao Po that she hopes the series of activities will remind people to be awake to the needs of the young people.
One challenge is to systematise the responses to the online questionnaire related to the synod for young people.
The commission had already organised three focus groups at the end of August for secondary teachers, secondary school chaplains and young people from parishes to collect their views on the Church, society and vocation. The results will be submitted to the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.
Mok quoted some leaders of youth groups as saying their focus group found that some young Catholic people have no expectations of the Church at all, as they do not see how it is related to their lives.
She hopes that the Church can devise ways of approaching those who have drifted away from the Church and encourage them to re-involve themselves in Church life.
While the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops has urged young people all over the world to fill in an online questionnaire and the Youth Commission has also encouraged young people to do it, Mok said she has heard from young local people that the questionnaire ignores the situation of Asia and concentrates of the western world.
On December 15, Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung was invited to a dialogue with young people and it was streamed live online through a Facebook account called Youth Boiling Point courtesy the Diocesan Audio Visual Centre.
Mok said the commission will also launch a few more forums on youth pastoral work in the coming year as part of a general invitation to the wider Church to listen to the voices of young people.
On the other hand, in cooperation with the Justice and Peace Commission as well as the Hong Kong Federation of Catholic Students, the Youth Commission is launching a series of social concern activities for young people in an effort to develop communities around them.
The commission will also help to promote the Chinese version of the DOCAT, a simplified adaptation of the social doctrine of the Catholic Church to be published by Claretian Publications at the beginning of next year.
On top of that it will also be involved in the preparation of World Youth Day in Panama in January 2019.
A Diocesan Youth Day is also scheduled.
Li Hon-cheung, the pastoral assistant at Cheung Sha Wan Catholic Secondary School, said Catholic schools have a better opportunity to contact young people, but it will not be easy to touch either the Catholic students or the non-Catholics to any significant depth.
But Li said he is happy that the Year of Youth may be able to set a clearer direction for various pastoral works that young people can involve themselves in.
Li said due to peer group pressure, young people may find Church activities boring and be more attracted to leisure time activities with friends instead. Another difficulty is that young people who do involve themselves in parish activities rarely disclose anything of their Catholic identity at school.
He said he recently tried to promote tabletop games, which he believes can be used as a contact point due to their popularity, but during the gatherings, students have to listen to gospel readings and do a bit of sharing before getting access to the games, which is not always a good way to create interest.

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