Catholic youth told to think as Indians first
By Matters India reporter
Mangalore: A Supreme Court judge has urged Catholic youth in India to give top priority to their nation.
“I was born an Indian first, then a Catholic Christian. So all Christians are first Indians and then Christians,” Justice Kurian Joseph told the concluding session of the tenth national youth convention
Some 5,000 young Catholics from India’s 171 dioceses attended the January 18-22 convention held at Mangalore, a port city in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. The addressed various issues affecting the nation and young people in the country.
Justice Joseph, in his valedictory note, reminded the participants about their constitutional rights and duties. “We not only have the constitutional rights but also the duty to follow the Constitution,” he said and urged them join nation building and to establish God’s kingdom on earth. He asserted that the youth must first become responsible citizens and become agents of change in the country.
The convention ended with a mega peace rally held in the heart of Mangaluru city. J.R Lobo, who represents Mangaluru South Constituency in the Karnataka legislative assembly, joined Ivan D’Souza, a member of legislative council, to release pigeons to mark the launch of the rally.
Archbishop Bernard Moras of Bangalore, head of the Catholic Church in Karnataka, flagged off the rally from Rosario Cathedral. It ended at St Aloysius College grounds.
In his presidential address Archbishop Moras asserted that Indians have the fundamental right to profess their faith and “no one can take it away from us.” He urged the young people to fight together for justice while upholding Christian values.
Bishop Aloysius Paul D’Souza of Mangalore advised the youth to witness Christ in their region.
Lobo commended the youngsters for maintaining discipline during the rally. He urged them to take active part in the church as well as civil activities. He asked Church leaders to set up centers to train youth to work for the community.
Oscar Fernandes, a Member of Rajya Sabha, welcomed the delegates to Mangaluru, popularly known as Rome of the East. “There is no difference in serving God and Serving the nation. It goes in hand in hand. Youths should make use of all opportunities they get in their life to serve the humanity,” he added.
Cardinal Oswald Gracious, head of the Latin rite in India, led the Mass on the concluding day. In the homily, he called upon the youth to follow Jesus. “Each one of us can have personal relationship with Jesus. Each one of us can meet Jesus. Following the teachings of Christ will help you to walk his way. Transform society and bring a change by following Jesus,” he added.
The Mangalore bishop, who led the Mass on January 21, reminded the youth about the need to commit to Jesus and to his cross.
Ivan Fernandes, permanent deacon and assistant director of Youth Ministry of Bombay archdiocese, recalled Pope Francis’ call to youth to not become Christian couch potatoes
Cardinal George Alencherry, who led the Mass on January 20, urged the Catholic youth to console those suffering because of various reasons. “We are unique in the eyes of our Lord and nobody can replace us. We are wanted by the Lord to proclaim his word and continue his ministry,” said the head of the Syro-Malabar Church.