The festive proceedings began with registrations and a short inaugural prayer service on 19th January, with the release of the balloon rosary, followed by a session of ice-breakers. After the initial mixers, the participants were animated in different groups by social activists, human rights personalities and critical thinkers on various topics. Some of the topics under consideration were: discernment on the importance and participation in a democratic process; my rights-my choice; participation in good governance as an informed citizen.
The youth discussed the present socio-political situation in India, the climate of growing polarisation and the inability of young leaders to emerge with a clear purpose and vision. As a consequence of the discussion, the youth were guided to reflect critically on their own personal integral development and to become aware of their responsibility to transform the church and society by taking up leadership roles for a better India.
Father Mayank Parmar, SDB, Director of DRISTI Don Bosco Kapadvanj, said: “This Youth Unity Fiesta was conceived as a platform to enable our youngsters to be able to intervene at the right time with the right purpose and intention to transform themselves and thereby enable the betterment of the church and society.”
Father Irwin Lasrado, SJ, Director of the AGSDM, said: “This is a wonderful initiative for the youth of Ahmedabad to ask critical questions, understand the prevalent situation and commit themselves to a long-term action-plan that will effect change in India society.”
The youth reflected on the beliefs, experiences, roles, skills and duties of the elected representatives from the local bodies till the parliamentary body. The youth were motivated to start from the panchayat to reach the parliament as responsible citizens. Eminent personalities from the social and human rights areas interacted with the participants enabling them to be aware and be proactive. Among them, Hasmukh Christian, Ratilal Jadhav, Kirit Mahida, Shobna, Shashikant, Anand Mazegaonkar, alongwith the Salesian Fathers, FMA nuns, Jesuit fathers and the Diocesan fathers animated and enlightened the youth.
Diocesan Youth Director, Father Vikram Mahida, said: “This is a triveni sangam for we have together as a confluence to enrich, encourage and motivate ourselves to be more responsible citizens who will participate dutifully to foster good governance in order to transform our church and society.”
Archbishop Thomas Macwan of Gandhinagar celebrated the Eucharist and invited the youth to “come together for the common good, doing away with our differences, and uniting for a common cause to acknowledge our zeal for a better society that believes in loving oneself and reaching out in love to others.” He further added, “I congratulate and appreciate this venture for the foresight and wisdom with which it is organised to inspire and motivate our youth.”
The 2-day fiesta also included tele-games, garba, orchestra, action-songs and creative displays of collage and rangoli on the theme of participation in the public political sphere.
Father Bastin Thomas, Rector of Don Bosco Dakor, said, “I sincerely hope that with our encouragement and accompaniment, the youth of this diocese will be able to reach that holiness which is possible for all of us in our daily lives. This is what I wish and pray for.” FMA nun, Sister Hilda Braganza, Superior of Pushpanjali Dakor commented: “This is a great occasion to see so many enthusiastic youth willing to commit for the betterment of society.”
Ripal Dabhi, Editor of Jyot, said: “What we have begun here, we will continue and we hope to bring out our next issue of the Jyot on this specific theme.” Vijay Parmar of the SYM, said: “We can only go forward from here, together.”
This first-ever collaborative venture ended with the youth committing themselves to a concrete action plan, pledging to meet again to position themselves as responsible citizens and probable leaders within the church and for India.