Development of CBCI Youth Mission in India
Back ground of CBCI Youth Mission:
1. In 1972 the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India entrusted the youth ministry of the Catholic Church in India to the Commission for Laity and Justice, which fell under the jurisdiction of the Episcopal Conference of Catholic Bishops in India. A single bishop then headed the Youth Commission for the Bishops’ Conference in India.
2. Much before the beginning of Youth Commission the youth activity in the country had already taken momentum in the Catholic Church. In the year 1945 the first all India Catholic Youth Movement (AICYM) meeting took place in Madras, Tamilnadu. As a follow up of the gathering in 1949 the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India recognized the All India Catholic University Federation (AICUF) and in1950 National Union of Students (NUS) first Convention was held in Bombay.
3. In the year 1969 Young Christian Student (YCS)/Young Christian Student Movement (YSM) also got recognized by CBCI and in the year 1974 after the formation of the CBCI Commission for Youth YCS/ YSM and AICUF became a part of it.
4. The Commission for youth in 1981 formed National Advisory Council (NAC) to discuss on ‘Youth Ministry in the Church’ and three years later in 1984 started the preparation for the World Youth Day at Rome, Italy called by the Blessed Pope John Paul II and celebrated also in all the dioceses in the country.
The turning Point:
The call for the youth and youth ministry of Catholic Church in the world got reaffirmed in1985 with the declaration of International Year of Youth being declared by the United Nations Organization (UNO). In the same year the Commission for youth hosted an International Pilgrimage of “Trust on Earth”, an initiative of the Taizé Community of France, in Madras where over 10,000 youth from all over India and abroad participated.
Establishment of CBCI Youth Commission:
1. For the first time three Bishops CBCI Commission for Youth was formed in1986, with Most Rev Abraham Viruthakulangara, Archbishop of Nagpur as the Chairman of the Commission and Fr. Benedict Jose (Trivendrum) a full time interim Executive Secretary to the Commission.
2. In 1987 Fr. Sathyaseelan, SVD took up the responsibility as the first Executive Secretary, of the CBCI Commission for Youth and soon under his leadership a National Consultative Body of Youth Commission (NCBYC) was formed at Poona, Maharashtra. It was followed by the participation of the representatives of NCBYC in the WYD (II) at Argentina from 11th-12th April.
3. The Taizé Community from France and CBCI Youth Commission, jointly initiated the next International Pilgrimage of Trust which was held at Madras in 1988, and over 15,000 youth participated in it.
4. In1989 Most Rev Bishop John Thakur, SJ became the Chairman of the Youth Commission and for the first time the CBCI Commission for Youth organized the National Youth Convention (NYC) in Vasai, Western Region where over 2500 delegates participated.
5. Soon it realized the importance of communication with its members and started in 1990 a Publication for Youth a Magazine named: Yuva Spandan (Heartbeats of Youth)
6. The Commission for Youth introduced Chaplains’ and Animators’ Training (CAT) as an annual Program from 1992 and till 2012 and over 1189 participated in the Program, which includes religious, lay animators and youth leaders. In the same year a Pilot Study on ‘Youth Reality in India’ was initiated.
7. In 1993 Fr. Sathyaseelan relinquished his term of office and Fr. Joel D’Cunha from the Diocese of Vasai, Western region took charge as the second Executive Secretary of the CBCI Commission for Youth. The fieldwork of the Stratified Random Sample Youth Survey on ‘Youth Reality in India’ accelerated under his leadership. The following year 1994 Most Rev Bishop Victor Kindo was elected as the Chairman of CBCI Commission for Youth.
8. The ‘Findings’ of the Study on ‘Youth Reality in India’ with 7233 Samples from all over India was published in 1995 and the recommendations for youth ministry were answered with the pastoral plan. National Youth Awards were instituted for regional youth leaders in 1996 and till date 290 youth have received awards for their outstanding work in the church and society.
9. With the beginning of the preparation for “Yesu Kristh Jayanti- 2000” the youth commission published “Youth Sessions with God the Father” in 1997 and “Youth Session with God the Holy Spirit” in 1998 for spiritual preparation of young people in the church.
10. In 1998 the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India elected Most Rev. Cyprian Monis, Bishop of Asansol as the Chairman of CBCI Commission for Youth. In the same year the NCBYC Statutes Committee worked on to prepare Statutes of the proposed National Youth Organization (NYO) in India.
11. In 1999 the first Asian Youth Day (AYD) was held in Thailand representatives of the Commission for Youth Participated and South Asian Youth Apostolate (SAYA) was formed with its Office in CBCI Centre, New Delhi, India.
Birth of Indian Catholic Youth Movement:
1. The year 1999 was historical as CBCI Standing Committee approved the Memorandum and Statutes of the ‘Indian Catholic Youth Movement’ (ICYM), and on 14th September (Feast of the Triumph of the Cross) as the National Youth Organization of the CBCI Youth Commission.
2. CBCI Commission for Youth initiated the preparation of the Yesu Krist Jayanti Stamp in collaboration with the Government of India and the Diocese of Vasai.
3. In the year 2000 ICYM was founded on 6th February (Feast of Gonsalo Garcia; ICYM patron Saint) by democratically electing its first National Council and the National Executive Committee (NEXCO) at St Pius College, Mumbai.
4. In 2001 India was selected to host Asian youth day. In 2002 August Fr. Alwyn M.J. D’Souza took over as the Executive Secretary of CBCI Youth Commission and the second National Youth Director of ICYM. In 2003 ICYM hosted the AYD (III) in Bangalore in which 19 countries participated.
5. In 2006 Most Rev. Leo Cornelio, SVD, Archbishop of Bhopal was elected as the Chairman of CBCI Commission for Youth and “Apna Yuva Spandan” the National youth Magazine was registered with the Government of India after a year-long follow up.
6. In the year 2007 CBCI Standing Committee approved the proposal to register ICYM with the government as a Registered Body in the name of ‘Youth Activ8 Foundation’ under the Societies Registration Act of XXI, 1860 and the youth movement was to become its subsidiary unit. In the same year the General Assembly of FIMCAP (International Federation of Catholic Parochial Youth Movement) accepted ICYM as an affiliated member and in the year 2009 ICYM hosted FIMCAP World Camp in India at, Northern, North East and West Bengal Regions, which is held once in three years.
CBCI General Assembly takes on theme as “Youth for peace and harmony”
With the growing concerns and issues of Youth in 2008 CBCI Standing Committee approved ‘Youth’ as its theme for the General Body Meeting to be held at Guwahati in February 2010 and the preparation began. In 2010 The Historic CBCI General Assembly took up the theme “Youth for Peace & Harmony” where 51 Young People represented the Youth of the Country & Catholic Church in the Bishops’ Plenary which was hosted by Northeast Region in Guwahati.
WYP, Jago Yuva Bharat & Consultatiuoin:
1. UN declared the year 2010-11 as International year of Youth. The youth commission participated and also organized many programs. The young Indians were among youth representatives from 20 Nations to prepare a “Magna Carta of Values” at this year’s World Youth Parliament in New York from11th to 13th August 2010.
2. The following year, on 12th January 2011, ICYM launched “Jago Yuva Bhrat”- a Yatra from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, on the theme “Youth for Peace and Harmony through Dialogue and Mutual Understanding”. The Yatra was for 61 days and it covered 18 states, 367 districts, 4000 villages, 100 institutes, 150 public programs and travelled above 14,000 km.
3. The 5th ICYM National Youth Ministry Consultation was held at Nagpur from 7th-11th July 2011 with the Regional Chairman, RYD, RYLA, DYD, DYLA and the National Council members in which the new National Youth Pastoral plan “Journey to the Kingdom” was released.
4. Fr. Philip Franky D’Souza, from the diocese of Shimoga is appointed as the new secretary to the CBCI Office for Youth and National Director for ICYM in August 2011.