Suva, Fiji, 17 September 2023 -- For the first time, 800 young people from all 34 parishes in Fiji Islands gathered for four days from September 7-10, 2023 at Don Bosco Youth and Education Centre, Nakasi, Suva for a youth festival called: “Fiji Catholic Youth Festival.” St John Bosco Parish had 40 young people attending this festival.
The festival’s theme was a repeat of World Youth Day 2023: “Mary rose up and went with haste.”
At the opening Mass, Archbishop Peter Loy Chong, the Archbishop of the Suva diocese, emphasized the importance and spread of World Youth Day (WYD), installed by Saint John Paul II in 1985. Archbishop Peter said: “The WYD touched the lives of many young people in the world and from their experiences, they are spreading that experience to others.” He also called on everyone to take responsibility for caring for young people because they are the present and future of the Church and the world.
The talks and sharing over the four days focused and reflected on WYD preparatory themes: Integral Ecology, Social Friendship and Great Message of God’s love. These themes gave young people an experience of the synodal Church - a journey together.
In the homily of the closing Mass, Archbishop Peter Loy Chong shared deeply moving things about what he has experienced with young people over the past four days. He said: “I heard you speak; I heard you think; I heard you cry; and I heard you dream.” He continued that this was a great opportunity for him and for everyone to listen and better understand young people. He also called on all parishes in Fiji to organize Youth Day at the parish level on the feast of Christ, the King.
After the closing Mass of the festival, Fr James Kyaw Hoe SDB, the rector of Suva community, thanked the organizers for choosing Don Bosco Youth and Education Centre to organize this big and meaningful event. He also spoke about Don Bosco’s great heart for young people. Young people are Don Bosco’s dream and ambition: “For you I study; for you I work; for you I live and for you I am ready even to give my life.” Let us pray for young people in general, and especially for those who have experienced this festival, to spread the experience of joy, hope, forgiveness and love to those they meet, especially those in their parish. We also pray for ourselves, Don Bosco’s children, to always be passionate about bringing God’s love to young people.