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Over 500 gather for 4th Keningau Diocesan Youth Camp

1KUALA PENYU – Five hundred and sixty-three youths from the whole Diocese of Keningau gathered at St Peter Bundu, Kuala Penyu for their 4th Diocesan Youth Camp June 2-6. The youth assembled believing that He who is risen has gathered them to journey together in one faith. The camp took the same theme as the World Youth Day’s, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Mat 5:8).

The theme is to remind the youth that the peace offered by the world is based on secularism and materialism which does not have Christ as its center. This reality, if not curbed, will shape the youth and their purpose of life which is far from the truth. The theme reminded them that a heart that is pure from materialism will see God.

Participants for this year’s camp did not stay in camps or school’s class rooms. They had a special opportunity to experience living with foster families which are located in 4 different zones. Unlike the previous camps, youths were welcomed with joy by their foster families. Besides lack of places to stay, the purpose of this effort was also to build relationship between youths and families in the spirit of Christian love.

The camp was opened with a Mass presided by Bishop Cornelius Piong, concelebrated by eight other priests and assisted by 2 deacons of the Keningau Diocese. Bishop Piong was grateful to God and proud of such an amazing turnout of youths to which he said it was an indication that the Church possessed a bright future. He likened the youths as a new energy to continue Christ’s salvation plan. He urged the participants to be open with the prompting of the Holy Spirit during the whole camp.

At this modern age, the peace offered is worldly in nature and not divine, stressed Bishop Piong in his homily.  He said that perfect divine peace is achievable if we go back to basic, that is, to go back to Jesus.  Inner peace is lacking because we forget about our identity which is rooted in God since we are created in His image and likeness. Therefore, it makes us a highly valuable people and this truth should offer us confidence and peace.

His final advice to the youths is to be courageous in defending their faith in the midst of the world. He also reminded them that Jesus is always praying for them to the Father.

Activities during the camp

Welcoming Night was held on the first night in order to get to know each other, those who came from various parishes, different background and education. However, the heavy rain did not permit the program to proceed as planned, nevertheless the participants stayed on even though the electricity was out. At about 9pm, the rain subsided and with the electricity restored, the youths started to praise and worship God in songs. They reflected that nothing is impossible when prayers unite them to God.

In subsequent days, among activities carried out were sharing of faith, adoration, animation, vigil, getting together with foster families and daily Eucharists. Priests were always ready to help them in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and religious brothers and sisters were also present to give their spiritual guidance.

Final day

Fr Rudolf Joannes reminded the youths that when they are back in their own hometown, they would have to face the reality of life again and he encouraged them to always see God’s presence with them in faith. He urged them not to get hooked further into worldly creation such as the smartphones. These worldly things separate us from the Word of God and from a private communication with God, and do not have the capability to bring us eternal life. He was positive that their presence in this youth camp would enable them to be moulded by God.

Fr Rudolf then announced Holy Spirit Church, Sook as the next host for the 5th Diocesan Youth Camp in year 2019. – Aldrin Benedict, Komsos Keningau Diocese

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