Monday, September 13, 2010


This certainly seems to be a strange title to a blog entry but I could not help thinking that the two have come to be linked inextricably. And this Sunday it was played out before my eyes, when we had about 700 young people on our campus to celebrate the Annual Youth Fest that is hosted by our students of theology. These young people ranging in age from 15 to 25, are part of the 21 parish youth groups animated by our brothers every sunday. They are in college or working or somewhere in between these two phases. Many were here for the first time and it was evident that they had a good time.

At the inaugural session the Bible was enthroned and they were exhorted to "Live the Word – Liberate the World" both by the Word itself and then by our own local MLA and Minister of Urban Affairs – Mr. Founder Cajee. The latter, though not a Catholic, spoke in glowing terms of what he had learned from the Catholic Church, exhorting the youth to courageously live the values they are being taught. Then followed an interesting audio-visual presentation on some youth problems viz. drug addiction, sexual permissiveness and media indoctrination. Each young person present was challenged to bring light to the world rather than to curse the darkness. By mid-morning we were ready to enter into the Eucharistic celebration that was presided over by Fr. Sylvanus Nongkindrih. He used some real life situations to bring home the need that all Christians have to encounter the Word of God especially by reading and studying the Bible. After much food for thought – it was time to give some food to the bodies and so the youth gathered in different parts of the campus to enjoy a tasty meal prepared by some of the brothers along with the help of some volunteers.

During lunch many also had an opportunity to look at some of the interesting charts prepared on the theme: "Live the Word – Liberate the World". Some had also participated in an essay competition and submitted their entries which were evaluated and honoured with prizes. With a hectic morning over it was time to move to the more evidently fun part – the cultural program. It was now the turn of the youth to share with their peers their 'take' on the theme. And so they used song and dance to present the relevance of the theme to their lives and to simultaneously showcase their abundant talent. This was duly noted and complimented by our two important guests - Mr. Bindo Lanong (Deputy Chief Minister of Meghalaya) and Mr. A Hek (MLA) - both of whom encouraged the young to build their own future with hard work and social commitment.

While a great deal happened on the stage, it was evident that there was also another very enthusiastic group keeping the young people rocking as they swayed to the rhythm of the music between the various items. It was fun time and dance time…and it made the 4 hour-cultural pageant pass by in a breeze.

Before we knew it was time to close shop and to part ways. But not before we had time to share a few words to tell each other how much we had learned during the day and to promise our presence next year for the next youth fest. The brothers had a tiring day – on their feet coordinating the various parts of the program and looking after all the logistics that come with keeping a crowd of 700 alive, active and enthusiastic. That their efforts were well-rewarded was borne out by the happy and grateful faces of the young people who had enjoyed some fun moments and been motivated to 'live the Word and liberate the world' around them.

No comments: