Wake Up and Testify Sandakan youths

The Sandakan Diocesan Youth Apostolate (SDYA) organised the 36th World Youth Day celebration via Zoom on November 21.

Dec 11, 2021

By Herry Francis Kamuntah
The Sandakan Diocesan Youth Apostolate (SDYA) organised the 36th World Youth Day celebration via Zoom on November 21. A total of 162 young people registered and participated in the programme. Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom gave his sharing based on Pope Francis’ message.

Bishop Julius led the youth on a reflection of the meaning of the World Youth Day theme Acts 26:16, ‘Arise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you’ Bishop Julius reminded them of the importance of the youth in the Church throughout this pandemic. Many have experienced a rise in family problems, unemployment, depression, loneliness, and addiction. However, the enthusiasm of the youth has united the people to move the Church to wake up and start anew, said Bishop Julius.

Then, he reflected on the story of St Paul. St Paul fell off his horse and Jesus called his name. He affirmed that this personal encounter with Jesus can change a person’s life. He reminded the youth to stay close to Jesus in whatever challenges they face as this will bring changes in their lives.

He also touched on how one would not know who Jesus is without knowing the Church. He emphasised that communion is one of the main aspects of the Church. God has made us to be in communion, especially to seek the common good. And this communion is strengthened through the Eucharist, through our prayer, service and activities in the church. He asked the youth to delve into what the Church is and appreciate community life as youth.

Bishop Julius also spoke about the youth who are chasing images that do not reflect who they really are in this modern world. Jesus shows us who we really are and that He loves us.

Bishop Julius remind them that worldly things do not guarantee anything, belief in Jesus is the true joy and hope. Therefore, be true to ourselves and be strengthened by the love of Jesus.

He called on the youth to rise up and be like St Paul, who was willing to be a witness of Jesus to everyone.

In the next session, Gregory Harumal, KBKS representative from Tawau, shared the history of the World Youth Day celebration.

Gregory ended his sharing by recalling the words of Pope Francis, ‘Dear young people, do not bury your talents, the gifts that God has given you! Do not be afraid to dream of great things!’.

Then, they went into the breakout rooms to share how they can live the theme of World Youth Day 2021 and how they can contribute towards their parish and community or wherever they are.

Despite the current pandemic situation, they were grateful, happy and enthusiastic to be with other youths virtually to celebrate their faith.

The Sandakan Diocesan World Youth Day celebration ended with the Diocesan Youth Prayer and final blessing by Bishop Julius.

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