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Nation Building In The Constitutional Way
By Fr. Matthews Dominic
Chennai, Jul. 31. SYM- India, Southern Region Youth Leaders and Lay Animators gathered together at the Provincial House on 28th - 29th July, Chennai for their second annual formation programme called LAF (Leaders & Animators Formation). 56 young leaders from 3 Provinces (INK, INT, INM) and 2 states (Karnataka & Kerala) accompanied by 5 priest who are responsible for the movement in their respective provinces. The core identity of Salesian Youth Movement, Joy and Happiness filled the atmosphere from arrival to departure.
The formation programme was intended to build relationship within, form and strengthen the Movement at the regional level, relive the Salesian Youth Spirituality with fellow members from other provinces, create synergy and common space for the youth, continue to evolve parameters for SYM-India, etc. This formation programme was begun in 2017 in consultation with the Youth Ministry Delegates of all the provinces, as a way forward in building a strong National Movement. The synergy and the sense of Movement with immediate neighbours is a sure way to reach across to distant parts of the country and world-wide. Just in the second year of this experiment one could sense that we are in the right path.

The two days of formation in Chennai focused on Salesianity (Knowing SDBs and their ministry with the young, Youth Spirituality and building SYM-India) and Indian Constitution. The Salesian animators and lay resource persons truly inspired the youth in their respective fields. The interactive sessions and the way the youth engaged themselves and the resource persons with questions was a sign of their interest and zest in the cause that is proposed - Nation Building. The youngsters feel that this subject be carried forward for another 3 years to come owing to its relevance to an individual and the nation today. Despite the serious nature of the theme the days were replete with Salesian style of animation - singing, prayer and fun. On Saturday evening at Taize prayer, many availed the sacrament of reconciliation that was offered to them.

In the final session the floor chose a team of coordinators, a representative from each province (Ms. Divya - INK, Mr. Leo Vimalraj - INT and Mr. Clinton - INM) that will function as executive body till next the gathering where structured elections for representatives will take place. In the given time SYM-India will finalise various elements that will make it a complete and functional Movement in various forms. And the individual provinces will ensure the formation of SYM and the active presence of groups in every Salesian presence.

The generous host, Chennai province undoubtedly played its role to perfection. The provincial Fr. K. M. Jose who welcomed the participants also presided the Sunday liturgy for the group. Fr. Maria Arokiam Kanaga, the General Councillor for South Asia surprised the gathering with his visit and message. He invited the SYM-India to participate in the opinion survey to be conducted with the young, in view of the forthcoming General Chapter and the formation of the Salesians for future.
With bags packed, goodbyes shared, numbers exchanged and prepared to leave, one could see a great satisfaction writ on their faces and resolve gleaming in their eyes.  

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