The Catholic Church in Bangladesh celebrated the 38th National Youth Day (NYD), at St. Paul's parish Shelabuniya, Mongla in the diocese of Khulna from February 17-21.
The Episcopal Commission for Youth (ECY) and the diocese of Khulna jointly organized the National Youth Pilgrimage.
This year's theme of National Youth Day (NYD) was “Mary arose and went with Haste” (Luke 1:39).
More than 530 youths from the eight dioceses of Bangladesh participated in the pilgrimage.
Beginning of the event, the Youth from the Khulna diocese welcomed all the youths and youth coordinators, Priests, Brothers, and nuns on Youth Day regarding their culture with sweets and flowers.
The youth cross-installation ceremony was conducted in a pleasant and devotional atmosphere by the Archbishop Lawrence Subrato Howlader of Chittagong, chairman of the Episcopal Commission for Youth.
Archbishop Howladar, "called upon everyone at the crucifixion ceremony to carry the cross in our daily lives just as Mary rose and immediately departed."
During the homily, Father Jacob S. Biswas, Vicar General of Khulna diocese, enlightened the youth by delivering his inspirational speech to the youth.
"Youth are the present and future light of the Church," said Vicar General.
Archbishop Lawrence Subrata Howladar CSC, Retire Bishop Theotonius Gomes, CSC and Father Bikash James Rebeiro, CSC, Executive Secretary and National Youth Coordinator and other diocesan coordinators were present there.
The message of the youth came out through play-cards, banners and festoons, which were about environmental protection and awareness, drug prohibition, sustainable development, participation, sending and meeting of youth.
Habibun Nahar, MP Ministry of Forests and Climate Change of Bangladesh was present as the chief guest at the inaugural function of the National Youth Day guests. The Bangladesh flag and the diocesan youth flags were hoisted along with the national anthem during the opening ceremony.
At the same time, the president expressed the concept, goals and objectives of National Youth Day. Chief Guest says, "Youth is the ambassador to protect and develop sustainably the earth by playing their active roles."
Then, the young people of the Dhaka archdiocese put on a play about Jesus' life and death on the cross.
Father Bikash James Rebeiro, CSC, Executive Secretary and National Youth Coordinator, delivered his presentation on the theme "Mary arose and went with haste."
Father encouraged the young people to say "YES" like Mary did and asked them to look at the history of vocation in their own lives. "What is God's will for me?" he asked the young people. Have my goals helped me to do what God wants me to do? Said Father Rebeiro.
Then the catechism took place on a different theme such as: "Youth Responding to the Cry of the World" by Father Patrick Simon Gomes. He said in his speech that the youth needs to take care of the environment otherwise we will not be able to win our new generation with anything in the future.
"YOUCAT: Asking Youth" by Father Jewel Medfield. He says in his fellowship, prayer takes you to God who will help you to remove all your troubles. The Mind That Understands the Mind "as youth psychology was presented by Fr. Ripon Rosario SJ. The keynote of his share was "Never End Life."
It touched the lives of the youth from the life sharing of two successful young stars on the theme: "I have a dream." At the vocation fair they also had vocational testimonies, talks on various topics related to vocation, and space for conversations between two people giving pilgrims the opportunity to deepen the vocational dimension of their lives.
In the forgiveness park (adoration of the Cross), the youth experienced God's love and mercy through the sacrament of reconciliation.
At the end and the closing mass was conducted by Archbishop Lawrence Subrata Howladar CSC. In his homily, he reminded the youth that once, the missionaries came from Lisbon and now the time is for you to “set out” to the World. Then the youth took the oath to be a bearer of promise to the Youth.
The Youth cross was then given to the Sylhet diocese for the next NYD, which will be in 2024.
One of the participants, Raphael Gomes, said, "I am enlightened by the teachings of this NYD and inspired to shine the light of Christ in their own fields of work."
Father Bikash James Rebeiro, CSC gave a vote of thanks at the end of the 38th National Youth Day, which has been followed by a wonderful cultural show.
Saint Pope John Paul II was a young lover and visionary. In love with the youth, he started World Youth Day and its continuation is being celebrated in every country and diocese around the world. - Nikhil Gomes
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