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Christian Youth Camp at Brikama

Jul 29, 2015, 11:56 AM | Article By: FR. EDU GOMEZ - Parish of the Resurrection, Brikama

The Inter-Parish Youth Camp of the St Charles and Resurrection Parishes took place from the 23rd – 26th July 2015. It was the first of its kind that two Church youth groups decided to collaborate and went on camping. The initiative was supported by Rev. Father James Mendy who is a youth himself.  The purpose was to bring together a good number of the youths of St Charles Lwanga parish and Resurrection parish to get together, to know each other, exchange faith experiences and learn from the theme of the camp chosen. The theme of the three day camp was “The Role of the Youths in the new Evangelization”.

The camp opened with a street procession of hymns from the Church to Presentation School where the camp was held. Upon arrival the group had one hour devotional prayers and a talk by Mr. John Bass of GAMBEGA Company.  Mr. Bass’ speech was to declare the camp open but it was punctuated with the theme on youth migration. He spurred the youths in his speech to value their home country and culture so that they can avoid migration most especially by sea.

Day two of the camp was spent on Seminars and study of the theme. The speaker at the seminars was Rev. Father Edu Gomez, Parish Priest.  Father’s paper dealt with a definition of terms, “Youth”.

Youth he said may be understood in terms of ages between 18 – 40 years because this is the category of age in which people can be active and productive.  In another way also he described youth in terms of what and how one feels in his or her heart.  You can be sixty years of age but still feel youthful.  As such he encouraged the campers to feel youthful than just bearing the age of youth.

Evangelization, Father Edu said means to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to people.  He quoted the text of scripture, Mark 15:16 and Mathew 28:19-20.  He also referred to the past Popes in the persons of Pope Paul VI and Saint John Paul II who said evangelization is the prime motive why the Church exists.

While encouraging the campers in his paper deliberation, Father Edu urged them to look at evangelization in the light of five basic challenges.  The first is on youth migrations of rural urban and Africa to Europe by sea.  Here they are to evaluate what these kinds of migrations mean and does the gospel of Jesus Christ encourage young people to risk their lives in such ventures.

Secondly the challenge of drug and alcoholism should be one aspect that needs to be looked at.  As Christian youths they are to evaluate drug and alcoholism and encourage people, especially the youths so that they will not waste their lives and their future in drug and alcoholism.

Thirdly the challenge of youths not being active in Church activities or migration of Christians from Church to Church looking for unseen miracles.  As Catholic youths theirs is for them to see their faith in Jesus rooted in the Catholic Church.  They should not feel and have the idea of Church in terms of seeking for what you want, walking from one Church to another like one with a supermarket venture.

Fourthly Father Edu noted the challenge of sexual harassment and exploitation over the young female folks.  This he said is prevalent and the young people should be able to say no to foolish men with their advances of money, job opportunities and promotion.  Christian youths should choose Christ and overcome such temptations.

Lastly, Father Edu who felt the attachment of youths in the media and internet urged them not to be too indulged in what the media and internet can offer to discourage their faith. Rather they should avail of the media and internet and use them as means to evangelize. He urged them to post meaningful texts of scripture and share with their friends and Church members by the internet.

The youths of both the Resurrection and St Charles parishes valued the camp for the knowledge and leisure gained.  They resolved to go back to their parishes at the end of the camp to be evangelizers in this new era, reaching out to friends, family and members of their parishes.