(India) “Study this Catechism! You need to KNOW What you believe”. These are the words of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. The day of 18th September 2022 is indeed a historical day for the youth and parishioners of St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Mysore. Because for the first time ever the Redemptorists in collaboration with the Parish Priest of Cathedral Church have inaugurated the YOUCAT Study group in the parish. This is an initiative to help the parish youth in their faith formation.
The Redemptorists of the Bangalore Province have taken the initiative to start a new community in Mysore city of the state of Karnataka, India. Two of the Redemptorist priests Fr. Peter. B C.Ss.R. and Fr. Robin C.Ss.R. are presently residing at St. Philomena’s Church, Mysore, making the Redemptorist presence felt in the diocese of Mysore serving as the assistant parish priests in the cathedral. Residing in the parish they are involved in different pastoral ministries of the diocese.
YOUCAT Mysore – 2022
Realizing the need for the faith formation of the youth, Fr. Peter approached the parish priest, Rev. Fr. Staney D Almeda, and Ms. Maria Francis, the National Director, YOUCAT, India to start the YOUCAT study program in the parish. After much planning and preparation for the past one month, the YOUCAT study group was officially inaugurated in the Cathedral on 18th September 2022. Fr. Sandeep Menezes C.Ss.R, (who is presently serving as the YOUCAT India Chaplain and National Council Member), Ms. Maria Francis, and 10 other young people traveled from Bangalore to Mysore to start the YOUCAT study-group program in the parish. Mr. Sam, an energetic youth from Bangalore, was very much instrumental in coordinating this entire process. Most of these young people are studying or working youth in their 20s and 30s who came to know about the YOUCAT movement online, during the pandemic lockdowns. Through the impact that YOUCAT’s online ministry has had on their lives, these youth have become ardent missionaries of the YOUCAT method themselves.
On this YOUCAT inaugural day, Fr Sandeep celebrated the Mass and impressed upon the youth from the parish that God’s presence is revealed to humanity on several levels including one’s conscience, the Word of God, and the Teaching of the Church. He further emphasized that the YOUCAT book and the accompanying youth movement endeavors to communicate that same divine revelation in a language that is dialogical and easily accessible to young people. Ms. Maria went on to brief the gathering on the unique aspects of the YOUCAT movement. One of the earliest members of the YOUCAT movement in India shared an inspiring testimony. She shared with the group that when she was pregnant with her third child, she faced tremendous pressure from others to abort her child. In a moment of confusion and desperation, she turned to the Lord in prayer. She was then led to open the YOUCAT book where she found a passage from the YOUCAT which demonstrated why abortion was a sin against God’s gift of life. In the end, she resisted this temptation. Moreover, by now she is the happy mother to four children. In fact, the youngest member in the YOUCAT missionary team was her fourth baby girl who is named Chiara! The program included a practical experience of the KNOW-SHARE-MEET-EXPRESS method of the YOUCAT study groups, meaningful Games, instructions regarding the YOUCAT online resources, question & answer sessions and evaluation. The youth who participated expressed great joy at being part of the study group and were grateful for this new initiative which has brought hope to them. Two of them were also inducted into the YOUCAT Mysore trainees’ group.
It is indeed great news that presently we have 115 youth registered for this program. There are many youths still registering for the program. The YOUCAT study group is planned for the next 7 months with 25 faith modules. We hope the YOUCAT study program will ultimately help the youth to know what they BELIEVE and follow the REDEEMER as Spirit-filled missionary disciples.
Fr. Peter Balaswamy, CSsR.