National youth meeting in Bangladesh to 'rediscover faith and vocation' (photos)
by Sumon Corraya

More than 400 young people came from all over the country. The 33rd National Youth Day took place from 21 to 25 February in Gazipur. An atmosphere of celebration and pilgrimage accompanied the activities. "We are the future of the world", said one participant.


Gazipur (AsiaNews) – Young Bangladeshi Catholics met from 21 to 25 February in Gazipur, just outside Dhaka, to "rediscover their faith and vocation".

More than 400 young people came together for the 33rd National Youth Day, invited by the Episcopal Commission for Youth (ECY) to discern their vocation and learn Christian values. The theme of the meeting was ‘Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment’.

The gathering was held in an atmosphere of celebration and pilgrimage. In addition to seminars and conferences, there were many moments of leisure and entertainment with songs and dances. Participants also held sessions of prayers and worship.

Alvesh Penero, a university student from the Diocese of Chittagong, spoke to AsiaNews about the experience. "The programme helped me reflect on which profession to choose in the future. I love photography and I want to carry on my passion.”

“For me,” he added, “reflecting upon vocational discernment has meant precisely responding to the call on what I really want to be. At the same time, I was able to reflect on the faith. Today faith in God is fading. Instead, it is the most vital part of our existence."

Sanchita Biswas, from the Diocese of Rajshahi, also found benefit in the programme. The latter “helped us understand that we are the future of the Church. This is why we have responsibilities and must walk on the right path. We must learn to know ourselves and find out what our weaknesses and strengths are. We must trust human relationships, work and life in general."

For her, "social media and electronic devices” are “among the challenges young people face today.” Unfortunately, “They create barriers between us and our parents. Pope Francis also said this in his meeting in Dhaka with young people. He invited us to spend more time with our grandparents rather than on social media."

Layal Rozario, from the archdiocese of Dhaka, agrees. "This programme helps us build relations with relatives. It also helps us strengthen our religious faith. We learnt ethical and spiritual notions. I will put them into practice in everyday life."

Shima Gomes stressed two other topics discussed at the meeting, namely abortion and drug addiction. "As Catholics we must protect life from all evil," she said.

"Young people must choose who they want to be in the future,” said ECY president Mgr Subrato Lawrence Howlader.

“I told them to let themselves be guided by their own thinking and not follow [ephemeral] guides,” said the prelate.

“I also invited young people to accept the challenges of life. God has filled them with his grace. Now it is up to them to do what they want, and remain united to the Church and their family."

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