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Investing in Formation of the Catholic Youth

Youth development and youth formation in the Catholic Church has been a crucial issue, which is considered an essential factor to the continuity of the future Church.

Since the youth represent not only the future but also the present of the Church lends credence to the fact that supporting and preparing the youth to grow into future leaders should be a major priority for the Church.

Current statistics of the Church’s population indicate that the youth constitutes between 60 to 70 per cent of any congregation and make up the majority of the universal Church, as they are seen as wonderful and wonder-filled gifts to the Church.

“You are a gift because you are our future and because God has endowed you … with great gifts in God’s talent of creativity, of vitality, of courage and caring and a deep sense of spirituality because you are searching for God.

This is the more reason why every Society must invest our best in the formation of the Youth,” said Archbishop Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle, former Archbishop of Accra and former Episcopal Chairman for Laity and Youth but now Vice President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference and Archbishop of Cape Coast in one of his encouraging words to the youth.

World Youth Day used to be celebrated every Palm Sunday but now has been shifted to the Solemnity of Christ the King by Pope Francis taking effect from this year 2021. The celebration begun in Rome on April 15, 1984. This initiative was conceived by St. Pope John Paul II and anticipated by two international events- during the Holy Year of Redemption, where the Pope presented and entrusted young people with the Cross on April 22, 1984.

Secondly, on March 31, 1985, the United Nations celebrated the International Year of the Youth. On the same day, the Pope addressed an Apostolic Letter to the Youth of the World and hence on December 20, 1985 announced the institution of the World Youth day.

A School of thought has been established that at one of the WYD celebrations, an 80-year-old man joined youths of between 14 years to about 40. Isolated and lonely as he was, some youths confronted him to find out why as old as he was he decided to join them, the old man passionately told them that he sees himself as a youth from his heart but not his age because age was just a number.

In our view, this School of thought reflects that we need to be firm in our faith and belief. The attitude of the old man should be an encouragement and yardstick for us.
Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter on the International Youth Year describes youth as a special treasure that a person experiences at a particular period of his or her life.

It is a period, which is certainly distinguished from the period of childhood just as it is also distinguished from the period of full maturity. For the period of youth is the time of a particular intense discovery of the human “I” and of the properties and capacities connected with it.

St. John Paul II in recalling the words with which the Gospel speaks about the youthful years of Jesus of Nazareth sees youth as growth which refers to an individual’s natural relationship with time. This growth is as it were an upward stage in the course of a person’s life.

It is the hope of that the youth of the Catholic Church in Ghana would be formed, informed, reformed and transformed both physically and spiritually, and in the area of skills acquisition, so that they can become the products that the Church could rely on as its present and future leaders for its developmental growth.

Source: Newswatchgh

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