Image: Young People at Prayer (Courtesy of Fr. Ambrose Pereira)
In a data collection by the Don Bosco Technological Institute revealed how the average Christian throughout the 137 Roman Catholic Parishes of the 16 dioceses in Papua New Guinea practice their faith.
The four areas concerned areas have a good structure or formation amongst youth are; formation at home, in school, parents’ interest and the churches.
Participants were between the age of 14 and 25; with 330 people in attendance.
Statistics show that youth are being drawn away from church for various reasons; some of which are lack of leadership and support among the young people; peer pressure; lack of self-confidence; no organizational skills among youth leader; and no support from parents; priority given to social activities or sports and general laziness.
87% of youth feel that there is a desire to change but not everyone is adamant about helping them change. The approach undertaken by families, education system, churches and peers are lacking true consideration of what really affects them; and how they can tackle the challenge.
The other 13% would agree that there is structure in place and most are willing to adhere to the ever changing world but recognize the fact that there needs to be more formation in how we practise the Catholic Faith.
There is harsh criticism and a wide-range of complaints from every corner but hardly anyone hears about the structure of living in faith given to them.
In the questionnaires, the youth pointed out that having better formations help better living standards and better effect on how they carry themselves; proper families will increase; proper marriages will increase; good leaders will flourish-all this comes with proper practise.
The responses from the survey brings out explicitly that some effects of the formation that the young people received at home and from the primary/high/secondary schools but not much from the parishes or from the respective parishes.
The young people themselves proposed their suggestions. Surprisingly, they recommend strongly the ‘ownership of young people’ by the parishes and propose ‘consistent regular formation activities’.
In fact, the participants of this study suggests the implementation of the ‘four areas of formation (almost 83.69%) if parishes are willing to take up the task to make a stronger community in Faith and somehow these experiences are not an ‘Ideal projection’ for them but a true ‘living experience’ .
Source: Fr. Shanthi Chacko Puthussery PIME
Secretary of Commission for Youth and Laity
Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands