JYMSA: Workshop on Challenges and Opportunities for Youth Ministry

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Jesuit Youth Ministry Team of South Asia (JYMSA) organized a three days workshop for Jesuits and other youth animators on “Youth Ministry in South Asia – Challenges and Opportunities” in Vadodara, Gujarat from August 25 to 27. Seventy two participants from 16 provinces attended the workshop.

Fr. Francis Paramar SJ, the Provincial of Gujarat inaugurated the workshop with the Holy Eucharist. Mr. Rohit Prajapati and Ms. Deepali Gilani addressed the participants on the challenges faced by youth in India. This was followed by an inspiring talk by Fr. Lancy Lobo SJ on “Paradigm shift in the idea of Nehru to Modi.” Later in the evening, Fr. George Pattery SJ, Provincial of South Asia conducted a session on the art of active listening and intentional speaking and helped the participants to enter into deeper level sharing.

On the second day of the workshop, Dr. Roman Bhatia and Fr. Erwin Lasrado SJ (GUJ) spoke about the opportunities for youth work in South Asia. They encouraged the youth animators to network and collaborate with the like-minded groups to reach out to the unorganized youth. This was followed by a presentation by Fr. George Pattery on the JCSA Statement, “Contesting Hindu Rastra: Alternative Narrative and Strategies for Reconciliation in the New India.” The participants suggested two catch phrases for the JCSA statement: “Samvidhan Bachao, Desh Bachao!”  (Save Constitution Save India) and “Samvidhan ke sath desh hamare hath.”  During the last session of the day, the Province Youth Coordinators presented the annual reports of youth activities.

On the last day, we worked out a few concrete action plans. The Province youth coordinators unanimously agreed to organize workshops and talks for youth (of their regions) on safeguarding Indian Constitution, spread awareness on Minority Rights, organize Province level MAGIS programs, write research articles and produce documentaries on peace, reconciliation and Human Rights violations, network with likeminded youth movements to weave a counter narrative to Hindutva ideology, promote local youth leadership etc.

In His concluding remarks, Fr. Brian Pereira SJ, JYMSA Secretary emphasized the need to pursue youth ministry in a spirit of MAGIS and prophetic courage. He also suggested that we need to promote issue based inter-ministerial collaboration to be apostolically effective. Fr. Nagin Macwan SJ and the Jesuits of Gujarat Province hosted the event efficiently.

Fr. Brian Pereira SJ