Hong Kong, 3 March 2018 -- Salesian Youth Day 2018 was held on 3 March in Daughters of Mary Help of Christians Siu Ming Catholic Secondary School. Almost 500 young people, with Salesians, Salesian sisters and members of Salesian Cooperators, gathered to celebrate this important annual event for the Salesian Youth Movement in Hong Kong.
The theme was taken from the Strenna 2017 of Rector Major: “We are family”, and the First Letter of John: “let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth” (1Jn: 3,18). The SYD event was divided into 4 parts: warm-up and group building, game booths, drama and prayer. Through the experience of different activities, participants are encouraged to enhance their communication with family members.
Fr. Andrew Fung, the Vice Provincial of the China Province, gave the opening remarks. A family cannot be reduced to an external structure, a mere “house”, but it required every member to contribute their part in constructing relationship. In doing so, everyone is engaged in building a family of his own.
To foster the idea of a family, throughout the day, participants were divided into small groups called “family”. Each member of the “family” was asked to pick up a family role and contribute their part accordingly. After a series of warm-up and team building games, the “families” joined a carnival, in which they participated in different game booths that imposed challenges to their simulated family life. Through the drama, three concrete actions were proposed:
- actively extend concern to family members;
- communicate attentively with them (for instance, without being distracted by pop-up messages in cell phones);
- communicate directly with them (literally, face-to-face, without any media like the cell phones).
In the prayer sessione, the young participants reflected upon their experience of the day, and pledged to live out the mentioned actions. The Salesian Bishop-emeritus of Hong Kong, Cardinal Zen suggested the life of the Servant of God Fr. Carlo Braga as an example of Christian love. He was born to a difficult family; however, he learnt to love from the model of God’s love – that is, the love expressed in Jesus. He dedicated himself to bring this divine love to the young. The Cardinal encouraged the young people present not to be disheartened by the difficulties of the family, but instead, they may place their faith in God and to imitate Jesus.
At the end, Fr. Antonio Leung, the Delegate of youth ministry, concluded the day asking the participants to pray daily for their family. And he hoped that they would begin to building up their family, and their effort would eventually bring forward changes to society. Every participants received two gifts as memorial: a cloth bag, which was specially designed for the occasion, and a candle with a logo of their “family” group printed on it. Metaphorically, they were invited to bring light to their family. And for the special guests, they received a thermo cup that would change surface colour with hot drinks symbolizing the warmth in a family.