Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations (Mt 28:19) was the chosen theme for Rio-in-Grenada, the World Youth Day (WYD) solidarity event in the diocese of St George’s, Grenada.
As a diocesan delegation was unable to attend WYD Rio, the Diocesan Youth Coordinator Sr Gillian Jerome SSM and her team organised the event.
More than 150 young people from every parish in the diocese took part in this unique ten-day event (July 17-28) at St Rose Modern Secondary School, Gouyave.
The youngsters, ranging in age from 12 to late 20s, assembled on July 17 for the opening ceremony which was attended by Governor General, Cecile La Granada and Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell.
On July 19 the young people went out in small groups to various parishes for a weekend of service, returning to Gouyave on the Sunday evening. For the rest of that week they had teachings on the faith in the mornings and a variety of workshops in the afternoons.
Talented young musicians enlivened the week with a wonderful music ministry.
Daily Mass, prayer and other acts of devotion such as Stations of the Cross and a candlelight vigil nurtured the faith of the participants.
The July 28 closing ceremony featured a display of art and craft items made during the week and a cultural display of music and dance that left the audience in amazement at the versatility and agility of the young people.
Dominica born, Trinidad-based Fr Cornelius Phillip FMI delivered the feature address. Fr Cornelius excited the young people with his singing before assuring them that each one of them was commissioned by Jesus with the same command. Fulfilling that command is a long journey but, like every journey, “it begins with a single step.”
Each one must begin with his/her own relationship with Jesus. “You can’t talk about Jesus as an idea but as someone you know personally,” he said. “Have joy and be excited about Jesus. Be happy Catholics!” he urged the young people. “Be grounded in the history of salvation by reading the Bible regularly.”
Fr Cornelius urged the youths to be “in the world but not of it”. They must know the culture of the people they approach. “Go with the flow but lead the people towards God and towards the Church.”
He encouraged the youth to know the faith and to stand firm in it. “Expect problems and opposition even from parents and family members.” He encouraged them to pray the Rosary as a powerful support. “Encourage each other, complement each other, don’t trivialise but affirm each other,” he said.
Fr Cornelius urged the young people to use the social media for evangelisation. “Be positive! Send positive messages. Put affirming messages and pictures on Facebook and YouTube.”
Bishop Vincent Darius called for more young people to be incorporated into parish choirs. He said the catechesis begun during the week must continue. He congratulated Sr Gillian and her team and said he was looking forward to many similar events in the future. The bishop encouraged the participants to start fundraising from now for WYD Krakow 2016.
– Adapted from a report in Catholic Focus