BIS #6870 Youth Ministry Course at STI

By Novice Hanley Gomes for BISMumbai

The novices of Salesian Training Institute and Sacred Heart Training Centre communities had a two-day Youth Ministry Course on 10 and 11 January 2023 in the STI Community, Nashik. Fr Leon Cruz Ratinam SDB conducted the course along with Sr Jaya Pedthala FMA. The novices were 14 in all, 6 SDB novices and 8 FMA novices.

The first day of the course started at 9.00 a.m. and Fr Leon Cruz began with a session on the ‘Creative Plougher’ by asking the novices questions on the condition, climate and challenges of Youth Ministry today. He said that the Salesians are to be the plough man/woman who does not look back and does not measure work with immediate results. He/she does not have the vision of the sower nor the joy of the reaper. Though he/she sees only hard work and the sweat of his/her brow, the plough man/woman has hope and certainty for the future.

After a break, Fr Leon Cruz divided the novices into 5 groups. He presented to the novices 10 Youth Ministry Projects: Youth Pasch, Youth Retreat, Summer Club, Boscoree, Scout Camp, SYMBIOS, Faith Fest, Film Festival, Leadership Camp, Vocation Cap, and Mission Camp. Each group chose two projects for their assignments and presentation. The novices then spent their time discussing and preparing for their presentations. In the afternoon, He took a session on ‘Reflection on Oratory-Youth Centre’. He explained the difference between the two, stating that the Oratory refers to a program on weekdays or weekends, designed especially for children; whereas the youth center refers to a structure, meant especially for the adolescents and older youth, and is open to all.

In the evening, there was a ‘Youth Interaction’ session, wherein ten youth from Don Bosco Parish and St Anne’s Parish had a time of sharing and interaction with the novices. After the interaction, while the youth and FMA novices went back home, Fr Leon Cruz took the SDB novices for the Miles for Christ experience. They distributed blankets to the poor on the streets of Nashik.

The second day started with a session on ‘Shepherd’s Dream’ wherein, Fr Leon Cruz spoke on the Preventive system: Presence – becoming strong and robust; Reason – obeying and becoming knowledgeable; Religion – ugliness of sins and beauty of virtue; and Loving Kindness – with meekness and love. During the next session, the novices presented their assigned Youth Ministry Projects in about ten minutes each. Fr Leon Cruz and Sr Jaya commented on their presentations, gave them suggestions and corrections. With this, the two-day Youth Ministry Course ended.

At 2.30 p.m. in the afternoon, Fr Leon Cruz took the SDB novices for a nature trail to Kashyapi dam. The novices had a good and refreshing time climbing the mountains and enjoying the breeze and the beautiful scenery.