By Fr. Chetan Machado

Nadiad, Gujarat, May 2 : Indian Catholic Youth Movement under the banner of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) organised the 4th National Conference at Pastoral Centre, Nadiad, Gujarat from 26th April - 1st May 2022. Four hundred and thirty seven delegates from all over the country attended this Conference to share their stories and experiences. They shared their opinions on the theme; 'Youth for a Synodal Church'.

Most Rev Soosai Nazarene, Bishop of Kottar and Chairman of CCBI Youth Commission celebrated the inaugural Holy Eucharist. Most Rev. Athanasius Rethnaswamy preached the Word of God. Fr. Stephen Alathara, Deputy Secretary General of CCBI along with priests from the host diocese and youth directors concelebrated the inaugural mass. Most Rev Soosai Nazarene, inaugurated the Conference in the presence of all the dignitaries, sixty five youth directors and animators.

On the first day of the Conference, the Annual General Body Meeting of ICYM was held which was attended by all the delegates. The Council meeting was held in the afternoon where new office bearers were elected and a new national team was presented. Ms Jyotsna D'Souza, National President welcomed the delegates and Mr. Antony Judy thanked everyone after presenting the annual report. Ms. Rebecca presented annual accounts.

During the conference there were workshops on various topics concerning young people and group work on the synod theme; 'For a synodal Church'. Most Rev Anil Couto, Secretary General of CCBI, Most Rev Thomas Macwan, Archbishop of Gandhinagar and Most Rev. Stanislaus Fernandes, Administrator of Baroda celebrated the Holy Eucharist and preached the Word of God. Fr. Stephen Alathara, Deputy Secretary General of the Bishops Conference and Fr. Cedrick Prakash SJ addressed the young people on different days. The conference focused on various study sessions and group discussions, where young people shared their stories, dreams, aspirations and expectations from the church.

The young people in the church are actively involved in social issues like environment, poverty, addictions, youth unrest, communalism etc… The National Youth Conference is one such programme where a lot of issues are discussed every year and deliberations are made. This conference is going to help the youth leaders and the youth directors in India to be effective in creating a better society where there is righteousness, justice, peace and harmony.

On 30th April, seventeen young people from different regions were awarded for their selfless service towards the movement. Mr. Anand Bhatnagar was the chief guest. He along with Most Rev Rethnaswamy gave away the awards. The event concluded on 1st May 2022. Most Rev Stanislaus Fernandes, Administrator of Baroda diocese celebrated the thanksgiving Eucharist. The new National Team was introduced and they took oath. A brief farewell ceremony was organised for the outgoing team.

The Diocese of Ahmedabad hosted this Conference and welcomed the delegates to Gujarat.


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