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CATHOLIC YOUTHS URGED TO WITNESS TO CHRIST IN ALL THEY DO
Nov 27, 2017








ABUJA, NIGERIA -

Youths of the Catholic Church have been called upon to embrace the challenge of reaching out with the Good News of Christ by imitating the Blessed Virgin Mary who started sharing the word of God from the time of her presentation by her parents, who left her in the temple after presentation ceremony.

 The call was made by Rev. Fr. Mark Obayi, the Secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) Youth Committee; in his homily at the opening Mass of the one-week long training programme for chaplains and leaders of all the youth groups of the Church, under the umbrella of Catholic Youth Organization of Nigeria (CYON).

The programme, with the theme: Youth Ministry: Mission/Purpose, was attended by about 200 participants from different parts of the country and took place at the Daughters of Divine Love Retreat and Conference Centre, Lugbe, Abuja. It was organized by the Youth office of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria and funded by the Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria (CCFN); and facilitated by experts from the United States of America (USA) and Nigeria.

 Using the readings of the day to buttress his admonition, Fr. Obayi urged the participants to open their hearts and allow God to use them for the mission of the Church. Noting that Mary started the journey of the mission of Christ at the time her parents dropped her in the temple, after her presentation; this led to her endowment with the word of God and sharing the Good News of Christ.

 The homilist added that in the same way; “at Baptism, we are called to open our hearts to God for him to use us for the evangelization mission of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are called to bear witness in this manner, conscious of our mission anywhere we find ourselves; at home, in the office and other places of gathering.”

 Fr. Mark urged the participants to always be examples of God love, everywhere and anywhere they may be. His words: “As leaders of the Catholic youth groups, we must be an example of courage and God’s love to our followers and be agents of change for the Church and the society.” He enjoined them to be witnesses to Christ in all their activities, wherever they may be.

 The celebration of the Mass was followed by the opening ceremony attended by the Secretary General of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Rev. Fr. Ralph Madu who declared the programme officially opened on behalf of the Bishops Conference. He was accompanied by the Rev. Fr. Zacharia Samjumi, Deputy Secretary General and director of the Pastoral Agents department of CSN.

 In his address, Fr. Madu reiterated the commitment of the Bishops Conference to the continuous formation of the youths of the Church to make them agents of evangelization and models of good Christian life in the society, particularly among their peers.  He commended the chaplains of the various youth groups for their commitment, dedication in the discharge of their entrusted duties and giving exemplary leadership to the youths. He commended the Pastoral Agents department of the Catholic Secretariat for organizing various formation programmes and giving purposeful guidance for the youth groups of the Church, through the CSN Youth office.

 In his own remarks, Rev.  Fr. Zacharia Samjumi welcomed the participants to the programme and urged them to take advantage of the week long training to enrich their knowledge and enhance the leadership apostolate. He disclosed that the concept of the  mobilization of  the youths of the country on how to raise funds by themselves was initiated during the World Youth Day celebration held in Krakow, Poland; when the Bishop Chairman, the CSN Secretary General and himself went round and saw the initiatives of the youths in this perspective.

 He stressed the need for creativity and resourcefulness among the youths and urged the participants to step-down the training in their various Archdioceses and dioceses at the end of the training.  Other speakers at opening ceremony included the Mr. De Tan Nguyen, leader of the team of facilitators from America, Rev. Fr. Mark Obayi and Rev. Fr. Uche Obodociena, the Deputy Executive Secretary of Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria (CCFN).


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