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St John's Regional Seminary organizes 'ECHOES 2020' a Catholic Youth Fest
By Fr Baly Yerramaneni
Hyderabad, Feb. 9. St John's Regional Seminary, Kondadaba, 7-9 February 2020: The Youth Fest 'Echoes 2020' will go into the annals of the Salesians of Vizag Region as a successful mega event organized by the Salesians in Visakhapatnam, in collaboration with the clergy of Srikakulam Diocese and the Archdiocese of Visakhapatnam.  The three day Catholic Youth Fest was held from 7th to 9th February 2020 at the shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows, Kondadaba. The punch line of the Echoes ''Arise! Young Man'' Lk 7:14 that went out as a clarion call to the length and breadth of the two dioceses, did ring in resounding responses from the young catholic men and women of the Archdiocese of Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam.  There were about 500 youth from rural and urban deaneries of Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam dioceses. Accommodation was provided at St John's Regional Seminary, Kondadaba.
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St John's Regional Seminary, Kondadaba, 7-9 February 2020: The Youth Fest 'Echoes 2020' will go into the annals of the Salesians of Vizag Region as a successful mega event organized by the Salesians in Visakhapatnam, in collaboration with the clergy of Srikakulam Diocese and the Archdiocese of Visakhapatnam.  The three day Catholic Youth Fest was held from 7th to 9th February 2020 at the shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows, Kondadaba. The punch line of the Echoes ''Arise! Young Man'' Lk 7:14 that went out as a clarion call to the length and breadth of the two dioceses, did ring in resounding responses from the young catholic men and women of the Archdiocese of Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam.  There were about 500 youth from rural and urban deaneries of Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam dioceses. Accommodation was provided at St John's Regional Seminary, Kondadaba.

The Youth Fest on 7th February evening began with the official registration and a cup of tea. At 06.30, Fr Ch. Mariadas, the Youth Director of the Archdiocese of Visakhapatnam, set the tone of festivity with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.  This was followed by meals and Camp Fire. The highlight of the eve of the fest was the Camp fire organized by Fr G. Carlo and Br P. V. Joseph; there was a lot of fun and frolic punched with party games and recreational songs. The participants said, ''We experienced a sense of togetherness, the ice- breakers did put us out of shyness, father!''  
Day two began with a Morning Prayer and Meditation conducted by Fr P. Ajay. During the meditation he shared reflections on the ''Necessity for Prayer in one's life''. At 09.00 a.m. His Lordship Most Rev. Rayarala Vijaya Kumar D.D., Bishop of Srikakulam celebrated the Inaugural Mass for the Catholic Youth Fest 2020. In his homily, His Lordship spoke on the ''vital role of the youth in the life of the Catholic Church''.  He encouraged all the youngsters to be alive like that of the Risen Christ.  In the first session of the day, Fr Arji Prakash , spoke on ''Faith Formation and Catholic leadership'' The second session in the morning was taken up by Sr Latha, a Canosian sister, who enlightened the youth on counseling, stress, emotions and friendships.  The afternoon sessions were animated by Fr Ashok sdb and Fr Raj Kumar, the Parish Priest of St Peter's Cathedral church. They spoke on the Faith and Impact of Social Media in the Lives of Youth and The Expectations and role of the Youth in the Parish - towards faith formation respectively.  After a tea break, a solemn adoration was conducted by Fr P. Jeevan Babu, the Parish Priest of Kondabada Parish.  His Grace Most Rev. Archbishop Mallavarapu Prakash, D.D. was also present for the adoration and shared his reflection on the theme encouraging the youngsters to be awake, alive and alert all through their lives. After the meals, a cultural programme was conducted where many youngsters proved their talents creatively.  The highlight of this day was the Taize Adoration where many youngsters actively took part and attended the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The prayerful atmosphere indeed brought grace and blessing at that moment.
Third day was again packed with a busy schedule; the occasion of Fr M. Rayanna's birthday added more joy to the festive mood. Fr Thalla Wilson sdb animated the Morning Prayer with praise and worship.  The theme, 'Social Awareness and Response to the Current Issues' was discussed by Fr Jose D. Maliekal sdb & Fr John Prakash, the Chancellor of the archdiocese.  After a coffee break, the youngsters were divided into 6 groups namely: Don Bosco, Dominic Savio, St Peter, St Anthony, Mother Teresa and St Joseph. The group discussions were conducted by Fr Ch Mariadas, the Youth Director along with Fr Carlo sdb, following which the reporting of the Action Plan had drawn up from the discussions. Indeed the youngsters joined their voices to stand with the Catholic Church. The concluding mass was celebrated by Abp. Mallavarapu Prakash where he expressed his joy towards the Salesians for organizing such a great event in the diocese. Finally Fr S. Balashowry sdb thanked many people who joined hands with them and led the whole programme forward smoothly.  

During the three day Youth Fest, the youngsters have been meeting and doing some activities with an Echo to praise and glorify God.  They have been thinking, planning, working, learning and growing up together as members of a family.  The distinctions among them being leveled off, the strange settings turned familiar to the new-comers.  Keeping their woeful anxieties at bay, they moved on to respond to life's challenges with good cheer and courage.  In this natural process of transformation, one can perceive in the youngsters a spirit of concern for the other growing, a sense of adjustment and making room for others building up, and the familial bonds strengthening, a paradigm shift from the cry of 'oh!' to wow' ensuing. The faces of new students suddenly electrify with a sense of wonder. A sense of oneness set in which made them say impromptu, Wow, the joy of being together... superb! Can you beat it! The joy of successful efforts rent the air. Finally the youngsters left the place with an echo: ''Wow! Superb! Indeed a great experience.''

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