PGS Province, 16 November 2023 - World Youth Day Solomon Islands was held at Tetere from 23rd to 27th August 2023. Don Bosco Rural Training Centre under the Christ the King Parish, Tetere, run by the Salesians of Don Bosco, provided accommodation for almost 3000 young people from six parishes in the Archdiocese of Honiara. It was an experience of a lifetime for our young people in the church in this part of the South Pacific region.
As the young people of the Catholic Church all around the world were preparing for WYD in Lisbon, Catholic youths in the Solomon Islands were also busy gearing up for this gathering to celebrate their role as regular and active members of the Church. The idea came from Archbishop Christopher Cardone during a priests’ meeting in Honiara earlier this year. Fr. Robinson Parappilly, SDB, youth coordinator and parish priest of Christ the King, and Fr Mark Misiwasi, chaplain of the Holy Cross youth, took this idea and organized the event with the parish priests, youth leaders and coordinators from the eastern parishes of Honiara Archdiocese.
“Catholic Youth become yeast in the Church through participation, communion and mission” was the chosen theme for the event. With a welcoming atmosphere and a vibrant spirit, the response was electrifying. Meaningful sessions on Morality by Fr James Erea’i, The Sacrament of the Eucharist by Fr Gregorio Bicomong Jr, SDB, Provincial and Holiness by Sr Emema. The young people also listened to talks on fighting corruption given by an NGO representative and on social media by a representative from Shalom Australia Shalom respectively.
The participants were invited to reflect on the questions: “How can you be yeast in the church? What’s your mission as a young person in the church? What is your role in the church?” Young people may not yet have answers to these questions, but during the whole program, I believe they were able to clarify the different ways that they could be yeast in the church.
Listening to the talks and participating in the many activities have helped them participate more in the church’s mission. The young people understood and expressed themselves well during the talks.
“This large gathering with a very positive spirit was a great means and a true way of evangelizing our young people. The youth leaders were fully involved in the planning and running of this event. It is our hope that our young people will continue to serve God joyfully in their parishes and communities. Young people are eager to participate actively in the church’s mission, but it is a matter of helping them know where and how to start,” said Sr Emema Iakopo, FMA.
“I love to encourage young people to make their way to Jesus by receiving him in the Eucharist. It is the core of our faith, and we are blessed to have such practice in our lives. Be a proud catholic and never be afraid to talk to Jesus, to sing, proclaim, and praise His holy name. She concluded that it is worth it; there is joy in serving him”.