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Thursday, November 14, 2013

First Part - Youth Consultation Process

DS / st

Sandakan : With the assistance of Heiron Peter Gom and Dennis Patrick both from the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu, a youth consultation session was held in the Diocesan Youth Office (DYO), Sandakan on November 3rd to 5th. 11 members from the Diocesan Youth Apostolate (DYA) and 3 other youth leaders attended the 3-day event. 
In his 1995 World Youth Day address, Pope John Paul II emphasized the importance of youth ministry. "What is needed today is a Church which knows how to respond to the expectations of young people. Jesus wants to enter into dialogue with them and, through his body which is the Church, to propose the possibility of a choice which will require a commitment of their lives." 

"Throughout the year, we often have many programs lined up for the youths. We feel good and are satisfied as long as we organise youth-based activities for them. We keep them occupied. But does it really match their expectation? Is it really relevant? There is pastoral planning for each parish, but you need to depend on the Holy Spirit to guide you" - Heiron Peter Gom 
What is consultation? Consultation is not a program, it is an approach. In consultation, we learned how to apply the inductive method of see (the reality), judge, act and review. However, during the first part of the consultation session, we were exposed on how to see and be aware of the reality, issues confronting the youths in their particular situation and that of those around them and to judge. Judging helps us see the rights and wrongs relevant to the situations and experiences shared. The Scripture teach us what is true and make us realize what is wrong with our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right (2 Tim 3 : 16)
DYA had held and continue to hold assemblies to gather information from various youth organisations / ministries / groups. It is pertinent to develop a close rapport with the youths and develop relationship bond as well as providing platforms for them to voice out issues confronting them. Rather than tell youths what they need, it would be better to ask the youth to tell the Church what they think they need. Then the DYO can begin to develop plans to meet their needs.
The sharings by Dennis and Heiron offered the members an opportunity to reflect on the challenges that young people face in today's post-modern environment, the need to listen to them, to speak their language, and to try to utilize their social networks. Above all, there is a need to offer the youths an identity in Christ and His Church that can nourish and spiritually uplift them. Information will then be analysed and collated for the next stage of 'judge' (reflect).
"I was surprise, the process is easier than I thought and I hope to continue to journey with everyone."  - Schoffal
In addition to trying to meet all of life’s challenges, being current also requires that we listen, read, participate and share.

The final process on 'act' will be done  in January next year in Bundu Tuhan, a more conducive and quiet environment where we can discern on the what we can do after seeing and judging the issue. The process might take time but the potential of it bearing fruits, the right kind of fruits will eventually actualize.
"My hope is to have a basic system in the diocese and I want to leave something concrete for the youths. I want to show how beautiful life is to the youths, but I cannot journey alone, I need people to journey with me, my team." - Anna Teresa Peter Amandus
“Dear young people, do not bury your talents, the gifts that God has given you! Do not be afraid to dream of great things!” – Pope Francis

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