SALESIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT FORUM (Kenya): 2015
This was a joint activity planned for youth formation by both FMA and SDB in Kenya. The planning for the event had started at the end of December in the year 2014. The forum was aimed at forming youth who are mainly playing leadership roles in their Salesian centers. Thus the young people who attended came from various FMA and SDB youth centers and school s and all communities were well represented.
WHEN FROM 14TH TO 20TH DECEMBER
VENUE : AT SDB COMMUNITY- AND FMA COMMUNITY -EMBU
THEME: HAPPY ARE THE PURE IN HEART ( MT. 5:8)
The theme was selected to give the young people an opportunity to reflect in a deeper way on the theme of the year 2015 as proposed by the Holy Father in preparation for the 2016 world youth day. Being at the end of the year the forum was also to usher in the year of preparation of the forth coming world youth day “ Blessed are the merciful …God will show them Mercy”
The theme for the SYM Forum HAPPY ARE THE PURE IN HEART was further subdivided into daily sub-themes to help the young people reflect on various ‘PURITIES’ that constitute purity of heart. The subthemes were as follows:
15th December– Purity of Heart , through various moments of the day, namely prayers, inputs , and group work young people engaged on reflections on the ‘heart’ being the aspect that influences a lot of our behavior and attitude. Hence the call and the challenge to cultivate and maintain a pure heart for the purpose of remaining pure.
16th December – purity of Body: the young people reflected on the importance of maintaining the cleanliness and purity of their bodies as way towards maintaining purity of heart . They were led to realize that there is a significance relationship between purity of heart and purity of Body.
17th December– Purity of Mind: the day was spent in helping the youth to reflect on how the various senses that God has given us contribute towards feeding and influencing our minds. The sub theme challenged them to make choices of engaging their senses in feeding the mind with pure ‘inputs’ if they want to experience purity of heart. In this they were challenged to be more critical in their use of the modern social media.
On this day the young people were also privileged to have a short visit by Sr Gisele Ndekezi , the AFE FMA provincial who congratulated them for their commitment shown through the attendance of the Forum. She encouraged them and gave them a short input them inviting them to live well the year of mercy as the as the church has invited all the faithful to do.
18th December – Pathways to Holiness: On this day the young people were guided to recognize various helps that God has placed in our path of life in order to help us to achieve the happiness of purity of heart which is holiness. Examples of Such paths were identified as prayers, sacramental life, reading and reflections on the word of God.
19th December – Reconciliation and conversion: The young were engaged in a pilgrimage of climbing a hill in Siakago Parish (our FMA community). At the hill they had input on repentance and the experience of Exodus since during the hill climbing some lost the guides and got lost, while others arrived at the wrong destinations. At the Parish the youth had the opportunity to celebrate the sacraments of confession and Eucharist.
20th December – Go Forth: Bear Fruits That Will Last : on this day the youth had a commissioning and closing mass in which the young people were sent to go forth and lead other young people to be disciples of Christ. The Eucharistic celebration was presided over by Fr Gianni Roland the AFE SDB provincial who availed himself to visit and speak to the youth as well as to close the Forum. During the closing Eucharist celebration, the young people were each given a candle and a certificate of participation to remind them of their call to be Christ’s Light to the other young people in their local centers.
Daily programs consisted of various moments that enabled the young to experience Salesian Spirituality in its various characteristics. The days normally began with the
Morning prayer in groups
Input by various facilitators
Afternoon session were usually dedicated to activities like
Rosary and quiet time / adoration
Good night and retirement
The young people spent all these moment throughout the Forum with a lot of enthusiasm and dedication
The young people participated and responded well to the moments of prayer especially the adoration and Eucharistic celebration. They lived a quality period of prayer, sharing, entertainment, dancing and enrichment in their Christian life.
Thus what remains is the challenge of them and us continuing to bear the good fruits of good seeds sown during the SYM Forum. We keep them in prayers and we continue to accompany them in their local centers.