YOU M.A.D, You Make A Difference

Caritas Penang held its inaugural Youth Camp, titled YOU M.A.D (You Make A Difference), at the Church of the Sacred Heart Church.

May 24, 2024

KAMPAR, Perak:
Caritas Penang held its inaugural Youth Camp, titled YOU M.A.D (You Make A Difference), at the Church of the Sacred Heart Church. This event brought together 40 young people from the diocese to experience the Catholic Church’s social mission.

The camp aimed to instil in the youth the belief that they matter and can make a difference in the world. The title was inspired by Caritas President Bishop Bernard Paul’s message to the youth (ref. HERALD, December 1, 2023).

The camp’s objectives included fostering community among the young people of the diocese and engaging them in meaningful activities and social mission initiatives. Participants were guided to understand their purpose as individuals and young followers of Christ, culminating in a community exposure visit.

Joshua Jerome Robert, a World Youth Day 2023 pilgrim, led a session titled Youth With A Mission. He spoke about finding one’s purpose, listening to God’s voice, and the importance of obedience at a young age. Joshua introduced the IKIGAI model to help participants understand their reason for being and encouraged them to reflect on the challenges and sins that might hinder their purpose.

Pauline Yeo from Caritas Malaysia conducted a session on the Union of Hearts and Minds, involving activities that prompted self-reflection and understanding. She emphasised the balance between being and doing in social missions and discussed five key areas: Advocacy, Awareness, Empowerment, Reaching Out, and Working Together. Participants shared their insights and learned practical applications of these areas.

Fr Simon Anand, head of Penang Diocesan Youth Network (PDYN) and parish priest of the Church of the Sacred Heart spoke about serving the marginalised community. The highlight of the camp was a visit to three different marginalised communities around Kampar. Participants, divided into groups, brought gifts and were warmly welcomed with joy, songs, and home-cooked food. The visits began with prayer, praise, and worship, followed by learning traditional dances and fellowship. These experiences were eye-opening, showing the participants the happiness and love within these communities despite their challenging circumstances.

The camp aimed to break the stereotype that charity is only about money and that volunteering is for the elderly. Through talks, sharing sessions, and visits, participants experienced firsthand how they can make a difference by being and doing the Jesus’ way.

Dear young people of Christ, indeed YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE! Let’s unleash the Caritas within us!

Insights from the participants
“I enjoyed and felt connected to Jesus during the Spiritual Conversations. The visit to the outreach village made me realise how the marginalised are happy with what they have and make the most of it.”

“I thought we were going to show love to them, but I felt so much love from them. It felt like they were my long-lost family. I learned that being and doing is how to sustain a relationship with Jesus.”

“I’ve come to realise that charity isn’t solely about material aid. It’s about being present, embodying love, and standing in truth. My time at the migrants’ village was profoundly hu mbling; their warm welcome still resonates with me. I’m dedicated to continuing my missionary work in every small gesture I can offer. Thank you, Caritas, for showing me the true essence of giving.”

“No one is too young or too old to make a difference in someone’s life; it’s never too late to start God’s work. I thank the You M.A.D team for the opportunity to visit the marginalised community as it was a great way to bring Christ to others.”

“I believe I am already a youth with a mission after reflecting during the camp. One of the leaders said purpose never ends; so, I will serve however I can because, for every phase in my life, God has a purpose for me.”

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