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India to host next Asian Youth Day in 2020

Card Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, together with Indian Church officials and some of the Indian youth delegation receive the simple bamboo AYD cross from their Indonesian counterparts for the next AYD to take place in three years’ time.

The next Asian Youth Day will take place in India in 2020, the second time the South Asian nation will be hosting the continental-level Catholic Church event since 2003, the Vatican Radio announced on 7 Aug 2017.

Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias made the announcement on Aug 6 at the end of the concluding Mass of the 7th Asian Youth Day (AYD7)which he presided over in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

The venue of the AYD8 will be discussed and decided upon by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI).

Among those who flanked Card Gracias, the main celebrant, at the altar were Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila and Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo of Jakarta, who delivered the homily in Bahasa Indonesia.

“We do realise our differences: We are of different nationalities, different languages, different cultures, and so on,” noted the archbishop who is president of Indonesia’s bishops’ conference (KWI).  “However, in this event, we do realise and experience that those differences cannot separate us, but the differences show the richness of the united humanity instead. It proves that the power of faith, hope and love unites us.”

Abp Suharyo wished that the AYD7 help the young people to “diligently and faithfully live out the Gospel so that we may be filled with the joy of the Gospel.”

Thus, he added,  “our life could mirror the glory of the Lord, which changes our lives.”

The Asian Youth Day in Indonesia, on the theme, “Joyful Asian Youth! Living The Gospel in Multicultural Asia,” was divided into three phases.

It began with over 2000 participants  from 21 Asian countries living with local families in the country’s 11 dioceses, July 30-August 2.  The delegates then converged in Yogyakarta, Indonesia’s cultural and intellectual heartland, for the main event, Aug 2-6, which concluded on Sunday with a Mass, marked by a rich display of cultural diversity that both Indonesia and Asia are famous for.

This was evident in the flags, including of the Vatican, traditional and ethnic costumes, decoration, singing, music, and dancing accompanied by traditional musical and percussion instruments, both during and after the final Mass.

While the young people headed back home, the youth animators and ministers remained behind for the final phase of the AYD7 – the Asian Youth Ministers’ Meeting (AYMM) in Yogyakarta, Aug 6-9.

The AYD featured talks and workshops on aimed at building mutual respect in Asia’s diverse, multicultural population, caring for the environment and learning how to be missionaries in a digital world.   As part of the multicultural aspect and in an effort to address growing fundamentalism in the area, the event hosted several encounters between Christian, Islamic and other religious leaders.

Among the participants in the AYD7 were 52 bishops, 6 cardinals, 158 priests and 41 men and women religious. Among Asia’s prominent Catholic leaders at the meet were Cardinal Gracias, the president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) and member of the Pope’s “C9” council of cardinal advisers, Bangladeshi Card Patrick D’Rozario of Dhaka, the chairman of FABC’s Office of Laity and Family, under which comes the Youth Desk that organises the AYDs in collaboration with the host bishops’ conference, and Card Tagle, the president of Caritas Internationalis, the federation of national Catholic charity organisations worldwide.

Among several Indonesian government authorities at the closing Mass were Vice President Muhammad Jusuf Kalla and Governor Sultan Hamengku Buwono X of Yogyakarta.

Held for the first time in Hua Hin, Thailand, in 1999, AYDs have been held in intervals of two, three ‎and five years.   Taipei, Taiwan hosted it in 2001, followed by Bangalore, India in 2003, Hong Kong in 2006,  Imus, the Philippines in 2009 and Daejeon, South Korea, in 2014, which Pope Francis attended. – Vatican Radio

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