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World Youth Day Celebrated as Faith Fest in Bangalore

By KOONAN Thomas
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Bangalore, Jul. 29. Nearly 400 Catholic youth and animators from Salesian centres (SDB & FMA) in Karnataka participated in the Faith Fest held at Auxilium, Salesian Sisters, Avalahalli, Bangalore, on 27 & 28 July. It was jointly organized by Karnataka Salesian (SDB and FMA) Youth Services.
Held in unison with the World Youth Day celebrations in Brazil, the two-day programme contained several of the key features of the World Youth Day (WYD).

The meet began with Holy Eucharist at 9.00 am. In the inaugural speech, Fr. K.O. Thomas SDB, Vice-Provincial, Bangalore Province, brought to the participants some of the inspirations given at the World level celebrations: the reason of the celebration is faith and the protagonist is none other than Jesus Himself.

The gathering was presided over by Sr. Alice Chacko FMA, Vice-Provincial, Bangalore. Fr. Michael Konnanikad SDB and Fr. Brian Moras SDB offered sessions on Salesian youth spirituality in Kannada and English respectively.

The first event post-lunch was Faith Walk: the participants moved from place to place in four groups, in each place receiving catechetical instructions of 30 minutes on the sacraments, the divisions in the church, the youth and media, and the social responsibility of youth. These were offered by Fr. K.O. Thomas, Fr. Anthony Mahimai Dass, Sr. Diana Rodrigues FMA and Fr. Joy Nedumparambil respectively.

In the session that followed the youth were engrossed in clarifying their doubts on Christian life with a group of panelists.

The next event was a creative Way of the Cross enacted by participants from different Salesian centres. In the Taize Prayer of nearly 75 minutes, led by Fr. CP Varghese SDB, the youth spent silent and intimate moments of deep personal prayer. The day ended with a cultural extravaganza followed by the good night talk by Sr. Marietta FMA.

The second day began with a nature meditation animated by Fr. Mahimai Dass SDB.  The main programme of the day was Youth Retreat animated by Brother T.K. George, a renowned charismatic preacher in Kannada.  He dealt with issues specially challenging the youth, like estrangement from parents and elders, addiction to drugs, sexual permissiveness, etc.

Mrs. Manjula Joy shared her commitment to Pro-life movement, motivating the young to respect life, specially the child in the womb. During the Eucharistic adoration led by Br. George, 15 priests administered the sacrament of reconciliation to the young.  

In the afternoon Prashanth, a Jesus Youth from Badravathi, shared the testimony of the transformation of his own life.

The concluding Holy Eucharistic celebration was presided over by Monsignor S. Jayanathan, Vicar General, Archdiocese of Bangalore.  The monsignor brought to the young people the insistence of Pope Francis on prayer, sacraments and helping others.

After the Mass, Cyber Psychology and the Youth, a book authored by Fr. C.P. Varghese SDB, was released by Monsignor Jayanathan.

In the concluding session attended by Fr. Thomas Anchukandam SDB, Provincial (Bangalore), youth representatives shared their experience and the guests and the organizers were honoured.

The two-day celebration of faith was indeed quite a rare initiative taken by the Salesians to animate the Catholic young people of Karnataka in faith and prayer experience.  The youth participated in the event with much devotion and fervour.
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