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Youthful Prayers shared on the Feasts of St Dominic Savio 

and St Mary Help of Christians

By Mr. Chihiro Okawa, EXDB

Tokyo, Japan, 28 May 2020 -- The SYM (Salesian Youth Movement) Japan proposed and implemented two online activities during the epidemic of the new coronavirus infection (the COVID-19). One is a Novena on Instagram Live for the Feast of St Dominic Savio (From 27th April to 5th May), and the other is the Holy Rosary Live on the YouTube for the Feast of St Mary Help of Christians (From 19th to 23rd May).

The SYM Japan was officially launched on the occasion of the Bicentenary of Don Bosco in 2015. As of 2020, the secretariat is composed of 9 youth staff (consisting of past pupils and church youths) and 2 accompanying priests (Fr Shinjiro Urata, SDB and Fr Shin Mishima, SDB). Their goal is for the Salesian young people in Japan to connect and share the spirit of Don Bosco beyond the boundaries of various groups such as schools and parishes.

The secretariat holds a meeting about once a month, and regularly holds “the SYM gathering” (sports, masses, meals, etc.) for the Salesian youth. Their large events such as this pilgrimage in the night of spring, domestic and overseas pilgrimages in the summer, and year-end meditations have also been held. In 2018, a large-scale gathering was held to welcome our Rector Major Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, SDB, who came to Japan, and many young people and students from all over the country participated.

However, due to the COVID-19 this year, there was no public mass in the church, and their normal activity prospects have remained uncertain. So, the youth staff proposed using online tools to provide the spiritual support for the young, and the Novena to St Dominic Savio and the Prayer for St Mary Help of Christians were realized. They were able to offer a quiet and good prayer time while introducing the SYM and the pilgrimages that have been conducted so far.

I would like to share the impressions and reflections of the SYM youth staff who planned and carried out these two online shows.

Ms. Kaho Tazawa

“By participating in these two online prayers, I realized that it is God's wish to pray and love for others.

I once again felt how great the healing from God that came when I prayed without myself.

And by connecting with others remotely, I became strongly aware that I should pray firmly, and I think I was able to pray closer to God.”

Ms. Naho Miyajima

“Through these two prayer opportunities, we were able to meet God beyond the space.

If it was a normal situation, we might not have performed LIVE. Now I can only stay home, but I find these restrictions the source of something new.

I realized that God always calls us ‘do what you can’, and if we do so, he will surely guide us in the right direction.

At first, I was worried that no one would come to see us, but I was happy to hear that it was a really good time, with dozens of people watching it every day. There were also viewers from overseas.

Just as Newton got the idea of the law of gravitation, when the plague spread and the college was off, we were also able to find a new way to pray and share time in this COVID-19 crisis.

I am grateful that we have had the time to pray with many people, even in a remote place.”







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