CATHOLIC STANDARD- Guyana - Friday, May 2nd, 2014
The Youth Commission of the Caribbean Bishops Conference (AECYC) met on April 4 and 5, under the new Chairman, Most Reverend Kenneth D. Richards, DD, Bishop of St. John’s-Basseterre.
The meeting was held at the Bishop’s Residence in Langford, Antigua.
Guyana was represented at the meeting by Youth Co-ordinator, Tracy Williams.
The major part of the meeting focused on plans for the AEC Youth Assembly which it is proposed will take place in the Diocese of St. John’s-Basseterre from July 12 – 19, 2015. The Commission reviewed the challenges and outcomes of the 2012 AEC Youth Assembly which was held in the Archdiocese of Castries, Saint Lucia.
The Commission had a fruitful discussion on the nature and challenges of youth ministry today and how these can be addressed through the AEC Youth Commission. Time was spent choosing broad topics for the workshop sessions at the Assembly and planning the way forward for the AEC Youth Commission in general. Some time was spent reviewing and evaluating AECYC programmes and activities through the years.
Caribbean Bishops Conference Youth Assembly (AECYA) 2015:
Based on the evaluation of the AECYA 2012 and information shared at the Commission meeting, steps will be taken in the preparatory stages to narrow the gap between the numbers projected to attend and the actual participants. Dioceses will be asked to give an approximate number of persons who are likely to participate in the AECYA 2015.
The theme proposed for the 2015 Youth Assembly is “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” Mt 5:8. This theme is based on the three year cycle of World Youth Day (WYD) messages on the beatitudes by Pope Francis.
Starting in 2014, the Holy Father will address one theme from the beatitudes each year culminating with his message for the International WYD in 2016.
In relation to AECYA - 2015, the plan is to focus on the theme within the context of Family Life in the Caribbean and its Implication for Youth and Young Adult.
The proposed areas to be addressed are Reality versus Truth with regard to Youth, Young Adult and Family Life
The Reality is that there are inherent challenges because of sin along with varied cultural and social problems and challenges.
The Truth is God’s plan, what the Church teaches and the model family.
The Commission plans to develop a tem-plate that will assist youth and young adult groups and their delegates prepare for AE-CYA - 2015 in view of the focus on family life.
The Assembly will run from July 12 to 19, 2015. The opening ceremony will be on July 12 and workshop days will run from July 13 to 15. July 16 has been set aside for Environment Day, Island Tour and shopping. On July 17 participants will engage in Missionary Work and more touring. On July 18 a fun day and cultural events will be held. The closing ceremony is scheduled for July 19.
Clergy and Religious participation
All Bishops are invited to participate in the Assembly. The Commission is expecting that many clergy and religious will accompany the various delegations to the assembly.
In addition, collaboration will be sought, in view of the stated focus for AECYA - 2015. The Youth Commission proposes a net-working with the Bishops’ Family Life Com-mission (FLC), and the Education Commission (EC). The idea is for a collaborative effort that will share resources and guidance from the FLC; and establishing a plan for sustainability with EC.
The plan for sustainability involves inviting Catholic Educators along with Catechists and Youth and Young Adult Moderators, who will participate in the Assembly where provision will be made for workshops to empower these delegates, so they can assist in nurturing family values in the forma-tion and engagement of Youth and Young Adults through their responsible ministries.
AECYC VISION DOCUMENT
After reviewing the contents of the Vision Document for Youth and Young Adults of the Caribbean Bishops Conference (AEC) that was published in 2003, the Chairman of the Youth Commission asked that the Commission resends copies of the document with a cover letter to all Arch/ Diocesan Coordinators, Moderators and Catholic School Principals for review and implementation. They will be asked to submit recommendations after reviewing and implementing the directives of the document.
The current Commission’s vision for Youth and Young Adult Ministry will focus on a ministry that facilitates conversion leading to an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, from which a deep sense of responsibility will develop to participate in the life of the Church, so that the Church fulfills the mission task of building the Kingdom of God!
The Commission’s main goal, through focusing primarily on spirituality, spiritual growth and on-going conversion, is to create and sustain Church communities that are warm, welcoming and empowering.
The Commission’s main target areas for addressing youth and young adults with regard to Evangelization, Social Action and growth are Church communities and Catholic Schools
WORLD YOUTH DAY 2016
With reference to AEC Youth Commission representation at World Youth Day meetings and plans for participation in the event, members agreed to defer discussion on WYD 2016 for the next meeting of the Commission in November 2014.
THE WAY FORWARD
A second meeting of the AEC Youth Com-mission is scheduled for November, 2014 which will be coupled with a workshop on Project Planning.
The AEC Youth Commission expressed its profound gratitude to the Diocese of St. John’s Basseterre for the warm hospitality during the meeting.
THOLIC STANDARD- Guyana- Friday, May 2nd, 2014