Catholic youths attend AECYA 2015
August 25, 2015
Catholic youths attend AECYA 2015

Ten youths from various parishes in the Diocese of Kingstown, St Vincent and the Grenadines, attended the fifth Antilles Episcopal Conference Youth Assembly (AECYA) 2015, which was held in Antigua and Barbuda from July 11 to 20.

The opening ceremony was held at the {{more}}Halcyon Cove Resort on July 12 and the workshop days ran from July 13 to 15. July 16 was an Environmental Day, Island Tour and shopping. On July 17, participants engaged in missionary work and more touring. On July 18, there was fun day with cultural events.

While attending AECYA, several of our youth participated in mass as lectors, altar servers, and sang in the choir. As part of AECYA week-long activities, the diocese was able to send two youth representatives (Omar Samuel and Gabrielle Robertson) to Montserrat for Mission Outreach.

Participating countries were asked to compose a cultural item to perform on their respective cultural nights and prepare a 10 minute presentation on their assigned paragraphs of the Encyclical Casti Connubii by Pope Pius XI; St Vincent was assigned paragraphs 19 to 30 – “Conjugal Fidelity”. For our cultural presentation, our youth decided to do a dramatization on the Garifuna people of St Vincent and our local music.

The theme for the 2015 Youth Assembly, which was based on the three-year cycle of World Youth Day (WYD) messages on the beatitudes by Pope Francis was “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” Matthew 5:8. The assembly focused on the theme within the context of Family Life in the Caribbean and its Implication for Youth and Young Adults. These areas were addressed using a mechanism of “reality versus truth with regard to youth, young adult and family life.” In this regard, the reality is that there are inherent challenges because of sin, along with varied cultural and social challenges and the truth is God’s plan; what the Church teaches and the model family.

Archbishop Girasoli was the chief celebrant at the opening mass of AECYA that was held at the Holy Family Cathedral, St John’s. During the week-long assembly, Bishop Gordon was a featured speaker, with whom the youth of the region really connected. Bishop Gordon spoke of the aspects of marriage, in it being unitive and procreative, and that marriage is a sacrament.

At the closing mass of the AEC Youth Assembly 2015 on July 19, held at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, the outpouring of youth to the call of vocations by Bishop Gordon to come forward was very touching…..even more so because a Vincentian young adult answered that call. Overall, the youth stated in their follow-up reports that they now have a greater knowledge of the meaning of marriage.