SANDAKAN(CS).- 14 members of the Diocesan Youth Apostolate (DYA) together with its Spiritual Adviser, Spiritual Assistant and a lay adviser gathered at a prominent hotel in Sandakan on Saturday, Jan 11 for a thanksgiving fellowship to celebrate Christmas and New Year. They have served a term of three years and would need to discern about recommitting for the next three-year term. Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom was the guest of honor.
Anna Amandus, the Coordinator of DYA extended her appreciation to all members coming from across the four parishes for their effort to attend the event. The full attendance of team members augured well for the new year, a sign of solidarity and support to open a new and interesting chapter in the life of DYA.
She recalled the journey of DYA throughout the first three-year term. The team was commissioned and the official logo launched on Mar 7, 2010. A year later the Diocesan Youth Office was established and is currently manned by two full-time youth ministers.
The initial stage was really challenging, travelling to parishes, visiting with the Parish Youth Apostolate every month to cement the necessary bonding of relationship. The connection is now in place and communication among members is cordial. Among the many programs conducted were the annual Youth Leaders’ Camp, Youth PrepLink, Campus Ministry Gatherings, reaching out to students and the outstation youths and recollections.
The coordinator highlighted her joys and sorrows, the ups and downs of the ministry and her hope for the ministry.
Fr David Garaman, who is Spiritual Director for DYA has this to say: ‘The Parish Youth Apostolate has evolved over time. The many ‘hang-outs’ and ‘clubs’ and the reaching out to students of institutes of higher learning have left a strong impact on the youth, especially on matters regarding faith. The Youth Monthly Gathering is an effective tool in getting the young people together for regular and continuous formation.’
Bishop Julius in winding up the discussion expressed his appreciation to the members for their faithfulness and zeal. Their commitments have enhanced the unity of the young people. The programs have proved effective in bringing about change.
The prelate shared his aspirations, among which, he said that all faith formation programs should prioritize on the Eucharistic Celebration, the source and summit of our Christian life. Minus the Eucharist in whatever programs is likened to merely tasting the icing and not the cake itself.
Programs are essential to bring people together. However it should be pastoral-inclined, otherwise we would end up throwing the feed to the pond to draw the fish, without which the fish is nowhere to be seen. Thus, we ought to look beyond the programs. We need consultation sessions to see to the reality of the youths and its relevancy. The pastoral-inclined programs should be drawn up for them and by them.
Catholic youths should be proud of their faith and identity. They must be made aware of the truths of their faith and the constitutional rights as citizens of the country. They must stand up for the faith in whatever situations. Thus, they must be firmly grounded in faith.
Catholic youths should involve themselves in community especially in BECs and not to journey alone. If left alone as individuals we could easily go astray. The community helps us to grow spiritually. Being in community, we will gain support from the community, groups and ministries in our endeavor.
Members would be expressing their recommitment to serve another term 2014 – 2016 and be commissioned during the 3rd Youth Leaders’ Camp early February 2014 at St Dominic’s Church, Lahad Datu.