Hong Kong, 27 February 2021 -- Salesian Youth Day (SYD), in fact, is no longer a strange term in the Salesian Family. It is held most of the time at provincial level, occasionally also at regional and international level. For us, the China province, it is an annual event organized by the Salesian Youth ministry office based in Hong Kong. After being cancelled because of the pandemic last year, this year, the SYD was successfully held on 27 February, from 2:00 to 4:30pm via online platform. Approximately 400 youths, together with Salesian priests, brothers, and sisters were called to meet to celebrate their common identity as Salesian youth and to reflect in depth the pastoral theme of the year.
The theme is “Be masters of the earth”. Through games, short films made by some of the young participants and prayer, participants learn to take care of God's creation in three ways: (1) wise consumption, that is, to buy something you need but not something you want; (2) health diet, that is, not to waste food and to eat green; and (3) waste reduction by not using disposable product.
Salesian Youth Day started with a short film -"The Covenant Engraved in Everyone's Heart". It talks about the rainbow as the symbol of covenant between God and man is becoming bleak due to the destruction of the environment, such as air pollution, over-exploitation of land and contamination of plastic chemicals, etc. In order to remind mankind the invitation of God to be the master of the land, an advocacy organization invites the 4 protagonists (Ann, Victor, Mandy, Tao Shao) to participate in a campaign called "Remembering the Covenant with God" so as to change their habits while they are asked to live together. With an increased awareness of environmental protection, they assist in recoloring the "rainbow" of the Covenant.
After the short film, the participants reflected in small group on how they could change in their lifestyle in order to save the environment. Then, they played in multiple of mini-games using the apps “Goose chase” to discover that some of us had actually unwittingly started to be more environmentally friendly in past years.
Fr Antonio Leung, Youth Delegate of the province, challenged the participants to live out the three proposed actions: reducing waste by using alternative in replacement of disposable products, cherishing food and possibly eating green, last but not the least consuming wisely. Fr. Antonio also highlighted that the names of the four protagonists in the short film could be combined as “Environmental” (Ann, Victor, Mandy, and Tao Shao). It served as a reminder for everyone’s responsibility to protect God’s creation and, starting from our Salesian youth, they may invite other young people to join our mission. Finally, Father Antonio introduced this year's souvenir which is environmentally friendly tableware, and asked everyone to begin from our daily life.
SYD was concluded with a solemn prayer. Before the final blessing, Fr Joseph Ng, Provincial, encouraged young people to appreciate and cherish everything that God has given to us as gifts and, at the same time, our actions respond to the Strenna of Rector Major, "Good Christians and Honest Citizens". Fr. Joseph invited young people to start practicing environmental protection actions during this Lenten period.