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India: First National Youth Conference Hears Pope’s Message

‘Make Your Lives Fruitful’

The first national Catholic Indian youth conference kicked off October 21, 2018. The conference is organized by the Youth Commission within the Bishops’ Conference of India (CCBI), which brings together the Indian bishops of Latin rite. A video message from Pope Francis was sent to the young Indians gathered in the assembly, who urged the young: “Make your lives fruitful for the benefit of all. Do not forget that youth is a wealth that bears fruit. You have the future and the present in your hands. Go forth. Do not be discouraged”.

“On October 18 I met Pope Francis and gave him a gift on behalf of the Youth of India”, said Percival Holt, in an interview with Fides News Agency. Holt is National President of the Indian Catholic Youth Movement and was present at the Synod in the Indian delegation. The gift was a Cross of the Good Shepherd carved by hand on sandalwood, together with a lotus flower (national flower of India) as a symbol of love and purity.

In India, more than 500 young delegates, from 132 Indian Catholic dioceses, are taking part in the National Conference which lasts until October 25 in New Delhi. The event is organized thanks to the specific commitment of the Indian Catholic Youth Movement, which wanted to prepare it in harmony with the Synod of Bishops. “The meeting will become a fixed annual event: we think it is important to offer young people the opportunity to participate in a national training program”, says Manoj Mathew, among the organizers of the Movement to Fides.
We also want to organize a three-year youth convention to bring together the young Indian Catholics of the three rites present in India: Latin, Syrian-Malabar, and Syro-Malankara.

During these days, “the young leaders are divided into groups. They are engaged in discussions based on a topic that concerns the life of youth, faith, and their vocational discernment”, notes Mathew. “We will try to better understand the reality of young Indians and help young leaders to find answers to face the challenges that they live in their local realities, related to the faith of young people”, he adds.

The CCBI is the episcopal conference of the Indian bishops of Latin rite and the Youth Commission is the main organ of the Conference which inspires and animates the youth apostolate of the Latin Church.

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