Be committed to Catholic ideals
- Nuncio urges youth
The Apostolic Nuncio to Ghana, Most Rev. Jean-Marie Speich, has called on Catholic youth to be committed to the Catholic ideals in spite of enticements that might tempt them.
He urged them not give up their Catholic ideals, their hard work and commitment.
The Nuncio said this at a Mass to climax the third Ghana Version of the World Youth Day celebration at Cape Coast recently on the theme: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Concelebrating Bishops were Most Rev. Matthias Nketsiah, the host Archbishop; Most Rev. Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle, Archbishop of Accra and Episcopal Chairman for the Youth and Laity, Most Rev. Peter Atuahene, Bishop of Goaso, Most Rev. Joseph Francis Essien, Bishop of Wiawso and Most Rev. Gabriel A.A Mante, Bishop of Jasikan.
Also concelebrating was the Assistant Secretary General of the National Catholic Secretariat, Very Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Abbey-Quaye; Secretary to the Nuncio, Rev. Fr. Renato Kuĉiç and many Vicars General as well as many Priests.
Archbishop Speich noted as youth, they would be tempted by ideologies, sects, money, drugs, casual sex, violence, power, selfishness, malice and all kinds of enticements, urging them to be vigilant of those who proposed such things to them since they wanted to destroy their future.
He said “in order to grow in discernment, along with the strength and the freedom needed to resist these pressures, I encourage you to place Jesus Christ at the centre of your lives through prayer, but also through reading and study of sacred Scripture, frequent recourse to the sacraments, formation in the Church’s social teaching, and your active and enthusiastic participation in ecclesial groups and movements”.
He advised the youth to turn to Christ in difficulties, take Him as a model and listen to His word by meditating on it regularly.
Speaking on the theme, the Nuncio urged them to protect the purity of their hearts and relationships, saying that this purity and human ecology “will help each one of us to breathe the pure fresh air that comes from beauty, true love and holiness”.
Activities to mark the four day celebration included a Workshop on Social Intervention: Teenagae pregnancy and Early/Forced Marriage facilitated by Prof. Kofi Awusabo Asare of the University of Cape Coast; a float through the city of Cape Coast and Catechesis led by the Bishops.
Other activities were Evangelization, Cultural night during which the various Dioceses displayed the richness of their culture; Vocations fair, games, candle light procession and a vigil with during which there was Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
The Accra Province was named as the next host province of the celebration and the World Youth Day Cross was received by Bishop Mante on behalf of the province.
The World Youth Day celebration was instituted by St. Pope John Paul II on December 20, 1985 to be held every year on Palm Sunday.
This followed the response of over 300,000 young people to his invitation for an International Jubilee of the youth on Palm Sunday in St. Peter’s Square at the close of the Holy Year of Redemption in 1984.
The following year, 1985 (30 years ago), Palm Sunday coincided with the United Nation’s International Year of the Youth and again, the Holy Father took the opportunity to welcome the youth of the world to Rome.
It was at this gathering that the Holy Father entrusted to the youth what is now known as the World Youth Day Cross, to be carried throughout the world as a symbol of the love of Christ for humanity.
The first official World Youth Day was held in 1986.
*The Nuncio (inset) some youth in a cultural display.
By Angela Ofosu Boateng