Reflections from the Diocesan Youth Coordinators Planning Workshop (Kefamo Conference Center, Goroka: 24 November – 1 December 2013)
Much tougher, much deeper, much demanding, much challenging, and Oh YES very exciting and promising, in fact it’s good news with a sigh of relieve; the process had now began while the journey may be still long and tough. After three years with the Youth Learning Material “Learning by doing, Doing by Learning”, there are signs of cracks and breakthrough that everyone had been hoping for, a proper and better coordinated approach towards doing Pastoral Care for, by, of and with the Youth (14 – 25/30 years old and not married) as 18 dioceses in PNG attended, except Vanimo and the 3 dioceses in the Solomon Islands. During the presentations and reports from the Diocesan Youth Coordinators (DYC) at the Planning Workshop (Goroka 24 Nov - 1 Dec 2013) through the creative Newsletters and resolutions update, obviously some dioceses shone brightly, others dimming, few still blinking but there is great hope for the future that things will improve as the Catholic Church in PNG now shows commitment and clear direction to what we are doing with preparation of the youth as they cross the challenging passage from childhood, through teenagers towards finding their proper place in adult life, as married people, committed single life or consecrated in Religious life and the Priesthood.
The Erik H. Erickson eight stages of growth with the Four Areas of Formation, Vocation, Jesus the Way, the Truth and the Life, the authentic Christian leadership and effective communicators as such are becoming household terms and expressions familiar with the young people throughout the Dioceses in PNG and Gizo in SI. The study and discussion with the eventual approval of the Catholic Youth Policy and Guidelines by youths with the above mentioned foundational areas for Catholic Youth Ministry are two concrete exercises that confirm the real experience of Communio amongst the Catholic Youth in a real and pastoral sense throughout the dioceses.
With the focus on Discipleship and the Transmission of the Catholic Faith, the recommended reading of the Gospel of Matthew (2012) and Acts of the Apostles (2013), the preparation and celebration of the Sacraments, the Leadership Training Workshops in the different dioceses, with the ongoing formation with young priests and retreats with religious and priests, the Commission for Youth and Laity in essence continue to promote the experience of Communio in an experiential and reflective manner amongst the participants.
The preparations for 2014 Learning by Doing Material focus on topical themes as Lumen Fidei (The light of Faith), introduction to St Augustine with analysis of the eight stages of life in Augustine’s life, conversion, saint and Doctor in the Catholic Church and its relevance to the life and experiences of the youth today. The introduction and meditation on the Ten Commandments, with reflective study of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the reflection and study of Verbum Domini (The Word of the Lord), Introduction to Theology of the Body with Open Forums, observance of a day’s fasting, celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation with the daily concelebration of the Holy Eucharist.
We are beginning to be more serious about the Pastoral Care of the Youth and we are beginning to have a better sense of how we are moving with the Youth towards maturity and Discipleship of Jesus Christ. During the Diocesan Youth Coordinators Gathering we also open discussions on the Laity and their vocation and Mission in PNG. As with the Youth we would like to do proper pastoral care with proper formation with Laity so they can witness to Christ more effectively their daily and professional lives.