CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Youth Festival on courage and love

HONG KONG (SE): Young people were told to be brave to achieve their dreams and reach out to those in need during a Mass at Caritas Institute of Higher Education, Tiu Keng Leng on July 15, which concluded the one-week Youth Festival organised in response to the Year of Youth.
The Youth Festival was held under the theme of Be Brave. The idea is adapted from the theme for the 33rd World Youth Day held in Rome in 2018 which says, Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God (Luke 1:30). 
Explaining the meaning of  the theme Father Dominique Mukonda, chairperson of the Diocesan Youth Commission (DYC), told the gathering that real bravery consists of three parts: it begins with a dream that gives meaning to one’s life; then find ways to realise that dream and believe that one can do it; and finally, take action.
Bishop Michael Yeung celebrated the Mass and said in his homily that today’s young people are faced with many challenges that others may not understand. The explosion of information, confusion of values and problems in daily life can cause them extreme stress, the bishop said. 
He quoted four important concepts from the 2013 apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (Joy of the Gospel) by Pope Francis to bring home the motto of life for the youth present: “time 
is greater than space; unity prevails over conflict; realities are more important than ideas and finally the whole is greater than the part”.  
Explaining the mind of Pope Francis, Bishop Yeung challenged young people to live in the present, avoid conflicts, look into the reality by reaching out to others and love all people instead of being self-centred and selfish.
Father Mukonda, as well as two members of the DYC, Father Aloysius Mak Ying-kin and Father Fructuoso Lopez Martin concelebrated the Mass, attended by over 150 who were part of the youth weekend camp held at Pak Tam Chung Holiday Camp, Sai Kung, as well as other young people. 
A slide show from the two-day camp was presented as a prelude to the Mass. A band known as Free-up Music provided creative and motivational songs for the Mass.
Earlier, the participants were invited to write down the challenges that they would try to overcome with courage on a slip of paper, and stick them on to a large piece of cardboard at the foot of the cross bearing the Chinese character “敢” (bravery).
Participants then made a pledge to walk out of their comfort zone, pay attention to the needs of the marginalised and live with love, forgiveness, understanding and the willingness to sacrifice.
At the end of the Mass, Bishop Yeung said he hoped the activities in the Youth Festival would not be one-off events but would guide the young people to live out the love of God. 
The two-day camp, targeting people aged from 12 to 35, also included a trip to early missionary spots like the old historical churches in Ma On Shan and Yim Tin Tsai, as well as a drama performed by the Augustine Drama Group encouraging a positive outlook on life.
Besides the camp, two charity activities were organised for the youth to connect with the realities of society today — a meal with the elderly people living alone, and another with the refugee families – as part of the youth activities of the DYC. 
Bishop Yeung in his message for Advent last year declared that the Year of Youth commenced on the first Sunday of Advent and will close on the Solemnity of Christ the King 2018.

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