Nepalese youngsters praying with their chaplain
Nepal will not send an official delegation to World Youth Day (WYD), church leaders said this week. But this is unlikely to prevent the presence at the event, scheduled for August 16-21 in Madrid, of a group of Nepalese young people who will be attending unofficially. According to Bishop Anthony Sharma, “our youths are simply not ready to attend WYD this time.” Nepal’s national youth chaplain, Father Robin Rai, who is also parish priest of Kathmandu’s Assumption Church, said the fact that a Nepal youth participant 'ran away’ just after reaching Germany in 2005 (for that year's WYD) was never a reason why Nepal failed to send a team in 2008 or this year. Father Rai said: “Our talented youth should first get to know each other at our own national level and bloom at local church levels. We are concentrating on their spiritual formation at the national level. “We are not strong enough financially and have to first form our own base here. There will be enough chances for participation in WYD and other meetings after we slowly build up through the Asian level. “Before going to international events, we are focusing on spirituality and more unification among our youth.” A group of Nepalese is, however, preparing to attend WYD. A lay Catholic, who did not wish to be named, said: “Fifteen people from the neo-catechumenate church group are going to Spain from Nepal. After our Bishop refused to make a special recommendation to help them with their visas they have found their own way of obtaining them via their neo-cathecumenate connections.” According to a priest the Nepalese going as part the neo-cathecumenate group do not represent the Nepal church at WYD. He said, “They do not represent the parishes of Nepal and would mostly be from families who do not even speak Nepalese language at home.” He said that their going 'almost secretly' further alienates the neo-cathecumenate group from the main church where they are being criticized for dividing the faithful within the church.
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