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|Members of the CBC-MSB Youth Committee with Bishop Julius|
MELAKA : The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei (CBC - MSB)) Youth Committee meeting was held at the Good Shepherd Catholic Seminary, Melaka on September 23rd to 27th, 2013. The yearly meeting was attended by four priests, one permanent deacon, two religious sisters and eighteen youth ministers from 8 arch / dioceses around Malaysia. The meeting was also attended by Stephen Borja from the Episcopal Commission on Youth, Philippines as the moderator for the gathering.
The five-day meeting focused on sharing and discussion on the updates from each diocese. Each arch / diocese was given a slot to present their new programs implemented. Such sharing enriched the youth ministers and widened their horizon on youth activities. They might adopt / adapt the program to suit their local needs.
Other than that, they deliberated on the upcoming second Campus Students Gathering (CSG). It was first held in Papar, Sabah last August. The next CSG will be held in the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur on July 4th to 5th, 2014. The gathering this time will focus on the 1st Campus Students' Day which will be held in 2015 with a target of 300 participants. Campus Students' Day will be held especially for campus students and this is one of the fruits which has been discussed during the first Campus Students' Gathering.
The 'Keep In Touch Always' (KITA) portal, formerly known as 'Stay In Touch Always' (SITA) was discussed at length. The aim of the portal is to make sure that students pursuing further studies away from their arch / diocese will know where and which church to go or who to contact. However, the portal has yet to be set up. Currently students are encouraged to fill up the KITA forms and return it to their respective Campus Ministry before leaving their hometown. A youth minister has been assigned to expedite the set up of the portal which is deemed important and urgent as it would be very useful to the students.
The 6th Asian Youth Day (AYD) in Daejeon Diocese, South Korea is scheduled on August 10th to 17th, 2016 with the theme "Asian Youth Wake Up! The Glory of the Marty Shines Upon You". Malaysia has been allocated 50 places and each diocese may send 6 participants.
On the second night, we visited the Chinese speaking youth community in St. Theresa's Church, Melaka. We met up with the youth coordinator for the Chinese speaking group from St. Theresa's Church and the Chinese youth leaders from the Archdioceses of Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu. During the encounter, they shared about their activities and discern on ways to serve the Lord together with other communities. As for the Chinese youths in St. Theresa, they are now working closely with the English speaking youths.
On the third night, Pastor Edmund Smith came and gave us a sharing about homosexuality. Pastor Edmund Smith was a transgender since he was about 4 years old and he lived a gay lifestyle for 11 years in the past from when he was 13 years up to 24 years of age. Praise the Lord! By the grace of God he is an ex-transgender and an ex-gay. He had been blessed with a wife; Amanda who serves the Lord together with him. They are blessed with two beautiful children, Angelica and Ethan. We often misunderstood those who are sexually different and by listening a life testimony from Pastor Edmund, we all learned not to judge others but believe that change is possible.
|A day tour to historical places in Melaka|
|Bishop Julius handing a souvenir to Stephen Borja|
On the last day, Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom of the Diocese of Sandakan, as the Bishop-in-charge of the Regional Episcopal Commission for Lay Apostolate was present to listen to the summary and resolutions arrived at the meeting. Before ending the meeting, Bishop Julius reminded us that we should not only look within ourselves but look beyond - be more aware of what is happening around us. We need to prepare our youths, spiritually and academically to face the effects of globalization. We need to adopt approaches to make our young people more aware of their rights in society especially where Christianity is a minority religion in the country.
The next CBC of MSB Youth Committee's gathering will be on July 6th to 10th, 2014 in the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur.