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DBYA South Asia Delegates GoogleMeet Focuses on Young People Amidst Laudato Si' Year


By Father Babu Varghese
DBYA-SOUTH ASIA: Rethinking Salesian Youth Ministry amidst COVID-19 & beyond
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New Delhi, Jun. 9. Don Bosco Youth Animation [DBYA] South Asia delegates had a GoogleMeet on Tuesday 09 June 2020.  Father Robert Simon, the new DBYA South Asia Delegate moderated the meet. South Asia Regional Councillor Father Biju Michael inspired the delegates to ''put the young person at the centre of Salesian youth ministry.'' Revising the DBYA Annual Plan, the delegates decided to implement the GC 28 guidelines and integrate the action plan of the Laudato Si' Year responding to the cry of the earth and the poor.
Spanning 02 hours, the meet welcomed Father Arul Maran[INT] and Father John Christy[INM], and thanked outgoing DBYA South Asia Delegate Father Maria Charles , wishing him well in his new role as Education Secretary Catholci Bishops Conference of India [CBCI].

The delegates shared the past 03 months activity in their respective provinces. Since the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown began in March 2020, DBYA South Asia has reached out to meet various needs of young people. The pandemic has forced Youth Ministry Departments of all provinces to adapt its services.

Initially cooked food and rations were provided as there was loss of household income for the poor and vulnerable, including migrant labourers. Masks, sanitizers, and soaps were distributed. Awareness programmes about good handwashing and hygiene practices essential to reduce transmission-exposure were also conducted. Homebound migrants were helped return safely to their destinations. Don Bosco institutions were made available for quarantine; online educational services and live-streaming religious services; new initiatives such as organic farming, migrant labourers data collection, psychological counselling helplines and even online youth centres have been started. Young volunteers came forward to assist Salesians in the social releif outreach..

Father Simon exhorted, ''Now is the time to move forward from relief and rehabilitation works to an integrated, wholistic youth ministry, which includes psychological, educational and spiritual services. It is also time to share the innovations in youth ministry in different languages of South Asia.''  The delegates were encouraged to engage interested young people and allow the spontaneous growth of the Salesian youth movement. In the spirit of the integral ecology of Laudato Si' DBYA is to promote simple life styles, ecological education, ecological spirituality and emphasise community involvement with participatory action to create sustanability.

Father Michael congratulated the DBYA delegates for the various initiatives in South Asian throughout the entire year, especially during COVID-19. He said, ''The subject of Salesian Youth ministry is the young person and not just his/her needs. We are evangelizers of the young.'' He reminded the delegates to promote Salesian religious vocations through Salesian youth ministry.
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