07/31/2017, 16.26
INDIA
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Indians at Asian Youth Day, bearing witness to diversity in unity

by Nirmala Carvalho

Some 83 young people represent India at the 7th Asian Youth Day (AYD7), which opened yesterday until 6 August in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The Indian delegation shows a multicultural, multi-religious and pluralistic face and is an example of peaceful coexistence between religions and cultures.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) – India is represented by 83 young people at the 7th Asian Youth Day (AYD7), which opened yesterday until 6 August in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Speaking to AsiaNews, Father Deepak K. J. Thomas, OCD, executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission for Young People and director of the Indian Catholic Youth Movement (ICYM), said that three bishops and a dozen sisters have gone along with the young people. However, Fr Deepak himself was forced to stay home for health reasons.  

His kids, he said, are happy to go. Many have attended World Youth Day before, but this time, AYD7 set limits on the number of participants from each country. All participants are paying their way, he explained.

The ICYM met with all participants on 29 July in New Delhi before they left for AYD7. Young people keep in touch via e-mail, Whatsapp, and the ICYM app (for Apple and Android) with a special link to the AYD7.

The 83 participants come from across the country, from the northeast to Kerala. Given their various traditions and cultural backgrounds, they are a showcase of diversity in unity, with a strong faith in a multicultural context.

During the AYD7 main event in Yogyakarta, they are set to take part in the cultural show with elements drawn from western India and Goa, namely a 10-minute dance and music performance.

“The contribution of the Indian delegation is huge since it comes with a multicultural, multireligious and pluralistic content,” Fr Deepak said. “It is an example of peaceful coexistence between various religions and cultures.”

“Secondly, it is important that our delegation acknowledge the support given to the AYD7 by the Government of Indonesia. Despite different ideologies, it is supporting and cooperating for the Good. Humanity counts."

However, “There is also great sadness among our youth,” said Fr Satish Kadam. Speaking to AsiaNews, the director of the Youth Commission of Nashik Diocese, Maharashtra, explained that “one of our youths killed himself and a young woman,21, has been bed-ridden for 18 months by transverse myelitis and her parents are so poor that they cannot afford the treatment she needs.”

"No one from our diocese went," he said. “Our people are very poor, and their daily life is a struggle. The sufferings of our youth are great. Even going to youth meetings is difficult, but they have faith, strengthened by suffering. This is our youth, our Youth Day: a poor suffering Church, strong in faith."

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