The RYVM Youth Animators’ Training Program in the Province of Bangalore, India

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As we celebrate the Silver Jubilee of the RYVM secretariat of the Bangalore Province, a four-day youth animators training program was organized from 8 to 11 April 2024 for the confreres involved in the youth ministry, youth leaders and lay youth animators. We were delighted to have the representatives from the Vice-Province of Majella, Mumbai.

The program began with the Eucharistic celebration offered by Fr. Ginu Cleetus C.Ss.R and other RYVM secretariat members. The first day was dedicated to understanding the psychological perspective of youth ministry. The two eminent professors from Christ deemed to be University, Bangalore (Prof. Tony Sam George, the Dean of Social Sciences and the Head of the dept. of Psychology and Prof. Dr. Niranjana Bennet, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology) emphasized the importance of mental health awareness among the youth and how to understand the youth from the psychological perspective. They gave the participants some assessment tools which would help them to assess the mental health of the youth under their care.

The YOUCAT Director for India, Ms. Maria Isabel Francis and her youth missionaries were invited on the second day to share their innovative methods of youth catechesis. YOUCAT is the title of a book and movement started in Germany to evangelize and catechize the youth. It is an abbreviated short-hand for “Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church.” Ms. Francis shared the origins of YOUCAT and emphasized Dialogical Catechesis and Participative method as effective means of catechizing the young. The second day was also filled with testimonies of the youth who have been impacted by the YOUCAT ministry, the use of social media for evangelization and sharing of digital resources to reach out to the young.

On the third day, Mr. Valerian Menezes a social entrepreneur who has worked extensively with the Indian Catholic Youth Movement was invited to guide us through group dynamics and experience the power of structured group exercises and games. He emphasized the fact that one needs to know oneself and the life stories of the young to really gain their trust and make an impact as youth animators.

The next sessions were dedicated to a series of reflections on the origins of RYVM in the Congregation and the emergence of youth movements in the Church. Fr. A.P Rajan C.Ss.R, lead us to understand the importance of formation of youth groups and the principles and procedures to be kept in mind in this process.

The final day was a day to train ourselves on the RYVM general guidelines and the proposed draft RYVM guidelines for India. Fr. Peter B, the secretary for RYVM led the group activity and processed to understand the spirit of RYVM guidelines. He emphasized the fact that the Redemptorist ministry is not just a creation of mere programs or events, it is about accompanying youth. The goal of Redemptorist youth ministry is to bring young people into relationship with God as a loving Father. Fr. Sandeep continued the session to conduct the quiz on the RYVM guidelines and he contextualized the youth ministry from the Indian perspective and the way forward. The training program ended with the creative chart presentation of participants on their understanding of Redemptorist youth ministry.

The Program was very successful due to the blessing of God, the active participation, the support of the Provincial Rev. Fr. Edward Joseph C.Ss.R and his council and the meticulous planning of the RYVM Secretariat members (Rev. Fr. Sanjay Kujur C.Ss.R (the Chairperson), Rev. Fr. Peter. B C.Ss.R (the Secretary), Rev. Fr. Sandeep Menezes, Rev. Fr. Ginu Cleetus C.Ss.R and Rev. Fr. Michael Kasper C.Ss.R).

Fr. Peter. Balaswamy, CSsR.
RYM, Secretary
Province of Bangalore