07/28/2017, 09.24
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No funds means no young Sri Lankans at Asian Youth Day

by Melani Manel Perera

The event is scheduled from July 30 to August 6 in Jogyakarta, on Indonesia's Java Island. No diocese is able to pay travel and formation expenses. Cultural programs and shows to raise funds for the next World Youth Day.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – "We had hoped to be able to send our young people to Indonesia, but we have economic difficulties to face”, Fr. Malcolm Perera, National Chaplain of the Federation of Young Catholics of Sri Lanka confides to AsiaNews. Regretfully, this year, young people from the country will not be able to attend the 7th Asian Youth Day (Ayd), scheduled from July 30 to August 6 in Jogyakarta, on Indonesia's Java Island. "But - he adds - we are already studying ways to raise funds to allow us to participate in the 2019 world gathering."

The Asian Youth Day sees the participation of young Catholics from all countries of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (Fabc). The theme of this year's event is: "Rejoice Asian Youth! Living the Gospel in Multicultural Asia - to announce in our languages ​​the great works of God (Acts 2.11). At least 3,000 young people are expected to attend from 26 nations.

Fr. Malcolm reports that he has spoken "with the dioceses and with representatives of all levels. No Catholic community will be able to send young people because of the cost of travel and preparation." Considering the financial difficulties of the local Catholic Church, the chaplain says that "we are planning some cultural events, such as musical performances and theatrical performances, so that we can raise the funds needed to participate in the next World Youth Day."

In these efforts, he continues, "we have the support of our bishop, Msgr. Justin Bernard Gnanapragasam, of the Jaffna diocese. Even young people need to understand the situation and work together for the long-term goal."

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