CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 13 April 2019

Print Version    Email to Friend
There should be no barriers when sharing Christ

The parallel event in Hong Kong for World Youth Day 2019 in Panama, brought many young individuals together. Occasionally, it is difficult being a native English-speaker. There are language barriers in areas where you wish there were none. We all want to share our personal insights on spirituality, so communication is quite essential.
 
The celebration highlighted the fact that young people appreciate it when their needs are recognised. This year, steps were taken to make the parallel event bilingual. Gathering young people and sharing the spirit is what the occasion is about. 
 
Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing, the auxiliary bishop of Hong Kong, pointed out that we have to reach out of our own comfort zones to be able to truly share with others. 
 
In Hong Kong, many young people tend to fixate on their own personal desires, focusing on their own pathways to their individual goals. Have we looked around us and noticed the old lady struggling with her fallen newspapers? Have we bothered to ask children, how was their day at school really was? Do we ask our parents what they did during the day at the dinner table? 
 
Technology and globalisation are not always a curse, but we have been losing control of our usage and have forgotten to look up from our smartphone screens to notice the simplest cries for help and belonging. 
 
Language barriers are not an excuse for not including other people. They are hurdles that we can easily overcome. 
 
In Taizé, France, I lived in community made up of many young people from around the world. English was nobody’s native language. However, the Taizé Brothers still used English as the common language, just because the majority understood it. 
 
At each sharing, there was always someone who volunteered their multilingual abilities to ensure that everyone understood what was being shared. It took more time, but Christ’s words could be heard. The venue always echoed the English statement with foreign whispers, but it was not a disturbance. This was an invitation for young people to share the spiritual content and ignite their own experiences to share with others. It moved as a cycle, but this cycle does not exist if, as the children of Christ, we do not act. 
 
World Youth Day is about young people from different cultures and backgrounds gathering our diversity in one place and spreading our experiences back out to the rest of the world. It teaches those of us in Hong Kong that it only takes one extra step to place one foot outside of our comfort zone to make everyone feel that they belong.
 
We have an extra year for the diocesan Year of Youth. The Diocesan English Youth hopes to continue to serve as a bridge between English-speakers in Hong Kong and the local diocese. 
 
This year’s World Youth Day celebration opened opportunities for Diocesan Youth Commission and Diocesan English Youth to collaborate, and we hope to continue to further plan for future events under the diocese together.
 
Ashley Ho