A contingent of about 25 Catholic youth from parishes across Guyana hope to return home from this year’s sixth Antilles Episcopal Conference Youth Assembly (AECYA) in Martinique, July 10–23 with a more intimate knowledge of the Church, connections with Catholics across the region and a firmer or re-energised faith life.
“This is about experiencing the universal Catholic Church, and being part of the regional Church,” one participant told the Catholic Standard.
The Youth Assembly allows young people between 16 and 35 years to experience their Catholic faith as practised in the region. This encounter with their contemporaries is an opportunity to deepen their faith and grow closer to Christ, by means of prayer and the sacraments, along with hundreds of other young people from the region.
Young people will spend two weeks immersing themselves in the spiritual and physical life of the diocese, emerging with a new appreciation of their faith and forming friendships across the region.
This year’s AECYA theme Youth Transforming the Caribbean Family is influenced by Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia: On Love in the Family. It also forms part of the Antilles Episcopal Conference’s five-year plan for renewing family life in the Caribbean.
The youths also spend time in praise and worship using Lectio Divina.
Each group of youths has to formulate a presentation based on their understanding of one section of the pope’s document and its application to family life in the Caribbean.
The Guyanese youths will participate in prayers and devotions during the assembly and they have been preparing spiritually in this way too. The assembly will also provide the opportunity for the Guyanese contingent to offer something of their culture as part of a regional sharing.
According to Catholic Standard, the Diocesan Youth Office has continued its spiritual preparation sessions for those participating. “One group from Georgetown has been holding meetings every Saturday. One purpose of these gatherings is for participants to get to know each other through icebreakers and sharing sessions.”