|Salesians ``do not to shun youngsters but take the first step in establishing relationship``|
By Fr. Joe Andrew SDB
Chennai, Nov. 3. On 23rd October, the Parish Priests and those involved in youth work in our parishes came together for a day of animation. The topic chosen, in keeping with the directives of GC XXVI, was ``Youth Ministry in Salesian Parishes``.
The meeting began with a video prayer presented by Fr. Harris Pakkam, on the theme - Jesus, the Good Shepherd. The morning session consisted of a panel discussion and group discussion. The panel discussion began with a paper presented by Fr. Joe Andrew (vice-provincial) on the need for a theoretical foundation for youth ministry in parishes based on the Gospel, church traditions, Salesian plan and our own experiences. The panel consisted of Fr. Joy Kurian sdb, Fr.John Alex sdb, Mr. Amalraj Narayanasamy, Fr.L. Don Bosco sdb, Fr. Deva Joe sdb and Fr. Rajkumar sdb who shared their views from various perspectives.
Fr. Amalan, sdb, the director of the Salesian Youth Council presented a rough draft of the by-laws of the Salesian Youth Council and the participants were requested to give their feedback.
In the post lunch session, Fr. John Louis introduced Dr. Pacifica Simon, an ENT specialist now fully involved in promoting human life. She spoke with conviction about the need to know about the various religious, moral and social issues related to the question of abortion. The conviction with which she presented the church`s views surprised all those who were present.
Fr. Provincial concluded the meeting by emphasizing that the parishes are the ideal settings for holistic youth work. He exhorted the Parish Priests and the Directors to make use of the province level animation programmes and centres. He requested the Salesians not to shun youngsters but take the first step in establishing relationship because they are our real target group, our first love and they need our love and care.
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