A contingent of 54 youth and young adults from Castries, St Lucia, accompanied by Vocations Director for the archdiocese, Fr Albert Smith, Philippian missionary priest Fr Cezar Herrera, Fr ‘Samy’ Gabriel MSFS, youth group coordinator Sr Velorna Gervais SSM and one Nigerian seminarian journeyed to Martinique Tuesday morning destined for the AEC Youth Assembly (AECYA). The trip via The Liberty ferry took an hour and a half.
Sr Velorna, in a telephone interview with Catholic News on Monday said the youth were both “anxious and excited” to participate in the July 10–23 assembly.
Some of the delegates have been to previous assemblies.
Commenting on the goal of their participation, she replied, “to revitalise family life”. “They’re not going not for themselves, but to be a light, a witness to family life, [to] be agents of change in the diocese [so] when they return, the long-term goal is that all youth will be leaders of the Church.”
Reflecting on preparations leading up to their departure, Sr Velorna said all went well and involved delegates meeting for “spiritual preparation” beginning February till July, one Saturday per month.
“Final preparations were last Saturday (July 7) from 9.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. It involved a spiritual group sharing and discussion, and questions on Amoris Laetitia. The business part of that meeting, the youth were given their travel packages, t-shirts, name tags…”
Meanwhile Coordinator at the RC Youth Office (Guyana), Roxanne Douglas was busy trying to “put some edges in order” for the 25 delegates representing the diocese. “Most of them are travelling for the first time [so] they are a bit anxious. They are looking forward to it. There’s also a sense of excitement,” she said via telephone.
The delegates comprise young people from the Youth and Young Adult on Mission programme which is supported by the Pontifical Mission Societies.
Similarly, preparations also commenced February and included one-day retreats, fundraisers, reconciliation and sessions on lectio divina.
Fr Carl Philadelphia, Sr Shelly Jhetoo, Sr Nishi Kujur, novitiate Elizabeth Small, Douglas and the youths arrived Tuesday midday on a connecting flight from Georgetown to Barbados then to Martinique.