India: Northern Mission Zone (NMZ) Youth Convention at Pandripani in Jharkhand

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From May 23rd to May 25th, 2024, a vibrant and enriching youth program was held, gathering young participants from the parishes of Kalunga, Burigora, and Pandripani. Additionally, students from the Torpa English Medium School joined in the activities, culminating in a total of 180 youth participants. The theme of the convention is, “YOUTH FOR THE REDEEMER.” This program aimed to foster spiritual growth, community bonding, and education on relevant social issues, with various sessions led by esteemed members of the clergy.

The program commenced with an opening Mass celebrated by Fr. Sameer, the coordinator of NMZ and the Kalunga Parish Priest, concelebrated by the Redemptorist and guest priests. The Mass set a reverent and hopeful tone for the days ahead, encouraging the youth to engage deeply with the planned activities and discussions. The Bishop of the Simdega diocese could not make it to the opening mass due to sudden health issues. 

Following the Mass, Fr. George Kindo, reflected during the sermon on the theme of the day, “The Youth for the Redeemer.” His message focused on the importance of spiritual resilience and moral integrity in today’s youth, urging them to embody the virtues of the Redeemer in their daily lives.

Miss Kanti Kiran Bilung, the Master of Ceremony took charge the programs so introduced and presented each resource persons to the youth gathered for the convention. The first formal session was led by Fr. Fabian, the secretary and Vicar of the Vicariate of the Simdega diocese, addressed the complex and often sensitive topic of inter-faith marriages. Fr. Fabian’s insights were aimed at promoting understanding, respect, bringing awareness among the tribal youth of the changing scenario of the marriage and harmonious relationships among people of different faith backgrounds. His discussion emphasized the importance of mutual respect and the challenges that come with such unions, preparing the youth to navigate these situations with wisdom and compassion.

Then, Fr. Peter Balaswamy, CSsR, with his companions from Bangalore, energized the youth with action and worship songs. This interactive and energetic session not only rejuvenated the participants but also reinforced a sense of community and collective worship. The songs and activities were designed to be inclusive and engaging, ensuring that everyone participated and enjoyed the experience.

The day’s activities continued with a session by Fr. Sanjay Tirkey, focusing on “Mass Media and its Impact on Tribal Youth Today.” Fr. Sanjay provided an insightful analysis of how mass media influences youth, particularly in tribal communities. He discussed both the positive and negative impacts, offering strategies for critical consumption of media and encouraging the youth to use media as a tool for education and empowerment.

In the afternoon, the participants were joined by Fr. Petrus Barla, CSsR, who shared an informative session about the Redemptorist Congregation. He spoke about its mission, and Congregational initiatives. His talk provided a broader perspective on the congregation’s work and inspired many of the youth to consider their own roles in serving their communities.

The day’s formal sessions concluded with a collective prayer and the distribution of Mother of Perpetual Help pictures. This symbolic gesture reinforced the day’s teachings and provided the youth with a tangible reminder of their experiences and learnings. The youth promised to be partners in their commitments to the witnessing to the Triune God in spreading the Gospel.

In the evening, the youth gathered for the rosary, a reflective and unifying activity that allowed them to wind down and spiritually reconnect. This quiet time of prayer was essential for internalizing the day’s lessons and preparing for the final day of the program.

The second day was full of exciting programs that included talks on “The present and future of the Youth” by Mr Ajay Ekka from Simdega, whose reflections were eye-opening messages on how the youth today try to find their identity and purpose in society. On the other hand, Mr Sunil Dutt Xaxa, present General Secretary of the Electricity Board of Jharkhand state, spoke on the growing uncertainties of the youth and steps to achieve goals today. There were other programs of action songs and various cultural programs that included dances, performances, and skits, especially in Ho and Kharia. In the evening all gathered in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, conducted by the Pandripani Youth. The program ended with a joyful note as all participated in the cultural tribal dance. 

The dedicated efforts of the clergy, including Fr. Sameer, Fr. George, Fr. Fabian, Fr. Peter, Fr. Sanjay, Fr. Petrus, Mr Ajay Ekka, and Mr Sunil Dutt Xaxa, ensured that the program was both educational and spiritually enriching. The combination of Mass, interactive sessions, discussions on contemporary issues, and communal worship created a holistic experience that will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on the participants.

Fr. Ranjit Minz, CSsR.
Youth director at Burigora Parish.