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Indian Catholics set to depart for World Youth Day

Delegation hopes to share Christian life experience in India at global event in Krakow
Indian Catholics set to depart for World Youth Day

The Indian delegation during the 2013 World Youth Day. (Photo supplied) 

Published: July 07, 2016 08:39 AM GMT
Updated: July 20, 2016 04:36 AM GMT

Some 150 young Catholics from across India will travel to the World Youth Day celebrations in Poland this week to join 1,000 other delegates from around the world where they hope to deepen their faith and share their Indian Christian life.

"We will be meeting church officials and youth from different parts of the world," Shradha Kujur, who is part of the 151-member delegation, told ucanews.com. Kujur said that the five-day cultural exchange program before the July 25-31 event in Krakow would help "broaden my horizons and learn about other cultures and rituals."

The youth will stay with Polish host families during the celebration and hope to promote Indian Christianity to a global audience. "Our country is so vast with so many different cultures and our Christians are no different," she said.

During the cultural session, members of the Indian delegation will give a traditional performance. "We will show the world our faith, worship and how the number of Indian Christians has gradually increased over the years," she said.

She also hoped to highlight the unique aspects of Indian Christianity.

The 151-member Indian delegation come via the Youth Council of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India and consists of 100 youths, 50 coordinators and a bishop. They have been selected from different parishes across the country.

"The selection of the youths takes place from the grassroots level," Father Deepak Thomas, secretary of the Youth Council, told ucanews.com. "Youths apply … at the parish level and are shortlisted accordingly."

The priest said that India could potentially host a similar event if the Catholic Church and Indian government could work together. "These kinds of events do not only involve a religious aspect but a cultural and political one too," he said.

Julia Joseph, the main coordinator of the Indian delegation, said that the event in Poland would help channel the energy of the youth and give them a direction. “In today’s world where everyone has become so selfish, this program will help us to become humble and generous,” she said.

Father Thomas said that the main concept of the event is to strengthen the faith of the youth. "If the faith is not nurtured, we will not have a very strong church in the future," he said.

In April, the Polish embassy in New Delhi announced waiver of visa fees for Indian Catholics attending World Youth Day.

Saint Pope John Paul II  initiated the World Youth Day gathering in 1985. Held in a different place every three years, the World Youth Day is a weeklong festival to celebrate faith through songs, dances, prayers, and sharing of experiences.

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