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The 7th Asian Youth Day 2017: Young People’s Mission in Compassion and Collaboration

Press conference with media participants in the first day of 7th Asian Youth Day 2017 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, 2 August 2017. (Mathias Hariyadi/Sesawi.Net)

THE important Yogyakarta meeting comes ahead of next year’s synod dedicated to young people. For Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario from the Family and Laity Office of the FABC (Federation Asian Bishop’s Conference), the Church of Asia “faces many social problems, especially poverty.”  He urged young Catholics to participate in its mission.

AYD’s ‘spiritual fruits’ must find application in the real life of young Catholics.

With the opening ceremony and the solemn Mass, the main component (2-6 August) of the 7th Asian Youth Day (AYD7) got underway in Yogyakarta, Diocese of Semarang (Java), Indonesia.

The press conference presenting the event was held at the Jogja Expo Centre (JEC) in the presence of Msgr. Ignatius Suharyo, president of the Catholics Bishops’ Conference of Indonesia (KWI), Card. Patrick D’Rosario, president of the Family and Laity Office of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), and Msgr. Robertus Rubyatamoko, Archbishop of Semarang and host of this 7th Asian Youth Day 2017 in Yogyakarta.

Msgr. Suharyo emphasised the significance of two issues young Catholics are expected to face in order to spread the spirit of the Asian Youth Day, namely compassion and teamwork. The more than 3,000 AYD participants are called to put them into practice so as to pick the “spiritual fruits” generated and experienced during the meeting with their peers from 22 Asian nations.

“I’d like to call these two fundamental principles ‘ethical competence’, said the KWI’s president.

“If young Catholics do not apply all of the AYD’s ‘spiritual fruits’ in real life, then it would not have been useful. If these ‘spiritual fruits’ are not put into practice, the celebration of our faith, the knowledge of the Catholic Church among its young people, and their encounter in Yogyakarta will not have had a serious impact on society.”

The bishop urged all the young people to ask themselves some personal questions. “How do I assimilate God’s words and evangelical joy in my life? How can I draw inspiration from God’s Word? And finally, how can I apply the spirit of God’s words to my personal life?

“In short, what must we do morally, spiritually and socially to make our social life more and more dignified and humanized?”

For Mgr Suharyo, these questions must be followed by a public commitment.

Card. Patrick D’Rosario of Dhaka (Bangladesh) explained the historical context of this edition’s AYD7. He placed the Yogyakarta meeting in the framework of two important events.

The first is the plenary assembly the FABC held in Colombo (Sri Lanka) in 2016, where discussions was centered on the Catholic Church in Asia, the vocation of young people, and their mission. The second is the Synod dedicated to young people that Pope Francis called for in 2018.

“The Catholic Church of Asia is a local Church that faces many social problems, especially poverty,” the cardinal explained. “Young Catholics are urged to join its mission. This is AYD’s historical context.”

As the archbishop of the host diocese, Msgr. Robertus  Rubyatamoko also spoke at the opening ceremony, the solemn Eucharistic celebration that saw today the participation of more than 50 bishops (including 6 cardinals) together with some 150 concelebrating priests and more than 940 foreign participants.

Senior government officials also took part in the event.

AYD7 also  received the full support from the authorities through their presence and the permits they granted. “Our Closing Ceremony at the Air Force Academy was also organized with the help of the government,” the prelate said.

Semarang Archbishop Rubiytamoko also noted that some moderate Islamic organisations took part in the event offering help in providing security.

The Catholic Church of Indonesia, the most populous Islamic country in the world, is very active in interreligious dialogue and usually involves Muslims in its initiatives and activities.

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Ref: www.asianews.it