Matters India Reporter
New Delhi, September 18, 2019: Father Chetan Machado, a priest of Delhi Archdiocese, has been appointed to be the new executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) – Office for Youth.
“The youth is not just the future. Young people are the present and God’s gift to the Church and society today,” Father Machado told Mattersindia.
He said that he is convinced that what today’s youth need most is recognition and guidance. They need mentors who are willing to walk with them through life without being domineering or browbeating them; more importantly, they need the gospel of Jesus, who guided and taught them without judging them.
Unfortunately, often young people are not understood by the authorities or superiors. Teachers, seniors and parents are impatient with them.
“We think that they are arrogant, lazy and rebellious. Their dreams and aspirations are doubted or criticized. Most times, they are not allowed the freedom to grow and live their youth fully,” the priest said explaining on the importance of youth ministry in India.
The Church needs young people and they need the Church. They are assets and can contribute immensely to the Church and society. Youth is power and if used appropriately they can create wonders, he added.
“From my experience of 10 years as mentor and youth leader, I have learnt a lot and have seen young people contributing towards the growth of the Church. Youth ministry is meaningful as long as we refrain from separating it from church affairs and decision making. Most times we separate them for our own selfish objectives and, when they question or suggest change, we resist or stubbornly stop them,” said Father Machado.
He is also executive secretary, Youth Commission Conference of Catholic Bishops’ of India (CCBI) – Latin Rite, besides national chaplain of Young Christian Students and Young Students Movement of India (YCS/YSM) India movement.
The youth need to actively take part in the life of the Church and not isolate them. Church needs to listen and learn from them. Precautions are to be taken that church would not be a clergy and adult dominated church where the young have no place, he explained.
“In this year of the Synod, I pray that we understand young people better and involve them fully in Church activities and decision making. The Church belongs to them and they are the present and the future,” Father Machado said.
Born to Lawrence and Mary Machado in Shirva, Udupi, Karnataka State, Father Machado completed primary studies at Don Bosco School and continued high school and university studies at St. Mary’s College, Shirva.
Ordained in 2006, he served as assistant priest at St. Alphonsa Church, Vasant Kunj 2006 to 2007 and at Sacred Heart Cathedral from 2007 to 2010.
For years, he has been active in youth ministry.
As a student he was part of Catholic Youth Movement in his parish and at the zonal level. He was president of his parish unit from 1995-1997. He worked also as secretary prior to this. He was actively involved with NCC (National Cadet Corps) for seven years and has attended over fifteen national camps during this period. He has successfully completed All India Cycle Expedition as part of National Integration programme.
One of his immediate priorities is to organize the forthcoming the Indian Catholic Youth Movement’s National Youth Convention at Secunderabad, October 13 – 17.