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FERNANDES Dominic Savio, Panjim says,
World Youth Day`08, Sydney
By Dominc Savio Fernandes
360° VIEW
Panjim, Jul. 24. An inspiring and uplifting experience with the Holy Father and the Youth. Could there be more Salesians involved and present for this mega youth event? How wonderful it would be for our own faith and our Salesian youth work.

The world youth day is mainly `responding to the invitation of the Holy Father in person, in a given place and time`. Over 500,000 young people responded to this invitation. From India the first group of youth in the name of Don Bosco took part in this mega event. We were just 16 in number with 10 youth 6 priests and 2 Salesian sisters. It was my privilege to lead this first Salesian group for this holy and inspiring event.

The WYD08 was in two parts. Firstly `days in the diocese` and secondly the actual `WYD in Sydney`. The days in the diocese were very enriching and inspiring. The families really cared to look after our needs especially spiritually. The evening sharing of experiences together with meals with the parishioners was wonderful.

Daily one could notice the streets of Australia full of youth singing and dancing in praise of Jesus. Our group too loved doing this whenever we got a chance, both in Melbourne as well as in Sydney.

One of the mega events was meeting the Holy Father. The love of the youth for the Holy father was simply marvelous. On the walk of the Pilgrims for the concluding mass one could only hear ` We love you Papa`, `Benedicto, Benedicto we love you.` Just a word of the Holy Father was enough to get a pin drop silence. Such was the love and esteem the youth held for the Holy Father.

We had an opportunity to meet as Salesians Youth, both at Melbourne as well as in Sydney. It was so inspiring to see our Rector Major (Don Bosco Himself) present with us for this mega youth event. It was truly a return to Don Bosco in reality. The GC26 in practice materialized in action.

I could sum up the WYD08 as `youth and faith coming together`. There is so much of faith in the young people for Jesus, the Church and the Holy Father. We need to spend much time in dialogue with youth and share our faith mutually. Two of the great events of the WYD08 were:

1. The daily Catechism classes with music ministry, testimonies, question time climaxing with the Holy Eucharist and meals together.

2. The Vocation Expo: The entire convention Hall of Sydney was filled with various stalls put up by different religious, diocese and secular groups. It was wonderful to see thousands of youth flocking to visit these stalls. The Holy Father in his sermon appealed to the young to dedicate their lives as priests and religious which was the greatest gift of God in the service of this world.

I take this opportunity to thank Fr. Joe Arimpoor the National Coordinator for Groups and Movements, for taking this initiative of sending the first Salesian group from India.  I also thank him for placing his trust in me and sending me as the leader of this first Salesian group for this mega event WYD08, Sydney. I also wish to thank Fr. Sunny Uppan sdb, from INK who helped us in obtaining our visas and coordinating our entire trip and stay in Melbourne and Sydney.

The Holy Father has now given an open invitation to the youth to gather in Madrid, Spain in the year 2011. My wish and prayer that we Salesian prepare ourselves especially our youth to take part in this event in great numbers. May all our work for youth bear fruits in creating a MOVEMENT- a vibrant SALESIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT in India. This process has already started by Fr. Joe Arimpoor our National Coordinator for Groups and Movements during the last `PALS` meet in Tanjavoor. May Mary Help of Christian protect us, and Don Bosco guide us Salesians in this a noble and important goal of leading us Salesians towards forming a vibrant SYM before the next WYD-2011.

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