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KOTA KINABALU – Loud cheers resounded from the youth during the Emmaus Family Night, held at the Catholic Students Group Centre, 13 Jan 2016, in conjunction with Emmaus Youth Camp-7 (EYC7).
EYC, organised by Kota Kinabalu Archdiocesan Youth Pastoral Team, is an annual formation program for Catholic youths who have completed their SPM and STPM. Forty-eight participants from 17 parishes signed up for EYC-7, which was held for two weeks from Jan 3-17.
During the two-week long event, various programmes were prepared for youth formation and for strengthening of relationship. This year EYC has introduced new programmes such as the Foster Family exposure outreach, also known as Nazareth Family, in Tenghilan Kota Belud and Papar.
Another new one was the introduction to soft skills i.e. self-control and self-esteem, personal grooming and resume writing.
According to interviews conducted with several of them, the Foster Family programme has touched them the most as it taught them how to communicate in a new environment, thus helping them to understand their own faith.
Coming from different parishes and life experiences, the youths admitted that they felt awkward and shy when they first arrived. A usual impression from anyone in such events, which the organiser was well aware of, thus several ice-breaking sessions were held to allow everyone to acquaint with each other.
Parents were also invited to participate in the celebration by sharing meals together, watching performances and presenting awards to their children.
Lightson Kohiya from St Joseph Papar sent his three children to EYC in response to a request from them. He said EYC is one way to equip youths to be missionaries of the Good News of the love and peace of Christ to others. He opined that when they, as parents, are no longer with the children, faith would be a provision for them to go forward. He called on other parents to give a chance for their own children to serve in the Church because they can go far in faith.
Also present at the Emmaus Family Night were Fr Jeffri Gumu, Fr Paul Lo and Fr Daniel Jamilong. As their spiritual adviser, Fr Jeffri called them on to imitate Jesus in life and at home. He also encouraged them to consider God’s calling, perhaps in priesthood, religious life or lay leaders in the Church. He affirmed the youth that they were already leaders yet they could do much more in service.