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5th Sabah Youth Day: Local youth, commitment, future youthful Church

PENAMPANG (CS) – “I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be to me according to your word.” (Lk 1:38)

Thousands of youth across the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu and the Dioceses of Keningau and Sandakan are marching across the State to make a commitment to give themselves to the Lord, to love Him and to serve Him.

They will make good their promise at the 5th Sabah Youth Day (SYD-5), which is hosted by KK Archdiocese, at the Holy Rosary Limbahau and St Joseph Papar July 25-31.

The quadrennial “youth festival” (occurring every four years) is preceded by the journey of the SYD-5 Cross, accompanied by Mary’s Icon from parish to parish across the Sabah, which was launched on February 24, 2019 at Holy Trinity Tawau. Holy Trinity Parish was the host for SYD-4.

The journey of the SYD Cross has cut across the Dioceses of Sandakan and Keningau and has now reached KK Archdiocese. It has been met with great enthusiasm by the youth, who are warmly supported by their families, parishioners and pastors of the parishes.

SYD-5 provides a timely reminder to the young people following the recently concluded Extraordinary Mission Month October 2019, convoked by Pope Francis to the call to renew our missionary commitment, and to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with all peoples.

It provides the impetus for guiding them to reflect what it means to be a missionary. Through this journey, they learn to be the face of Christ for they are called to reveal the face of Christ. It is Christ who is the loving face of God, so the world must encounter the presence of God in them.

Choosing the “fiat” of Mary for their theme, SYD-5 is the youth’s desire to take Mary, the first and true disciple of Christ, as their supreme model for a youthful Church.

Besides the highly anticipated joy and excitement that the youth event would bring, the young people must allow themselves to be taught by Jesus “who teaches, not from afar or from without, but from within your very youth, a youth He shares with you”. (Christus Vivit, 9)

Young people can help keep Christ’s Church young. They can stop her from becoming corrupt; they can keep her moving forward, prevent her from being proud and sectarian, help her to be poorer and to bear better witness, to take the side of the poor and the outcast, to fight for justice and humbly to let herself be challenged…”(Christus Vivit, 11)

The young people must know that SYD is one of many ways through which Jesus invites “to be fearless missionaries wherever we are and in whatever company we find ourselves: in our neighbourhoods, in school or sports or social life, in volunteer service or in the workplace. Wherever we are, we always have an opportunity to share the joy of the Gospel. That is how the Lord goes out to meet everyone. He loves you, dear young people, for you are the means by which he can spread his light and hope. He is counting on your courage, your boldness and your enthusiasm.” (CV, 95)

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