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Bishop Expects World Youth Day To Kindle Evangelization Spirit

Updated: July 04, 2008 09:09 AM GMT
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The bishop responsible for youth ministry in Taiwan hopes local delegates to the World Youth Day (WYD) events in Australia return energized to witness courageously to God and their faith. ta_taipei_1.gifTaiwan youths could learn much, "through the help of the Holy Spirit, from other participants about how to live out a vivid faith life and how to spread the Gospel," Bishop Thomas Chung An-zu of Chiayi told UCA News in late June. Bishop Chung, who heads the Youth Desk of the Catholic bishops´ conference in Taiwan, said this is particularly important because of this year´s WYD theme: "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses" (Acts 1:8). The international celebration for the 23rd WYD is scheduled July 15-20 in Sydney, southeastern Australia. Bishop Chung, who served as chaplain of Fu Jen Catholic University outside Taipei from 2003 until 2006, stressed that the 400 Taiwan participants must be "prepared spiritually and have an understanding of this international event before departure." Toward that end, the local Church has held two formation programs for the participants, one May 3-4 and the other on June 28. Besides the 84-member official delegation, the other participants joined through 10 Church groups. According to the bishop, both programs featured Masses in English to help prepare group members to follow the WYD liturgies, since local Chinese Catholics seldom attend English Mass. Teresa Wang Shih-chien, coordinator of the WYD preparatory team, told UCA News on June 30 that the second program was a final preparation to enable participants to understand the WYD program and get to know each other better. Each participant received a small package with two T-shirts, a diary, a badge and a light jacket. They were also given an introduction to some sightseeing attractions in Australia and a brief account of the Taiwan Church that they could share with young people from other countries. About 200 participants joined the one-day formation program held in Taipei archdiocese. Due to travel distances, Wang explained, others joined training activities held simultaneously in their own diocese or for their local group. The formation program in May concentrated on introducing the theme of this year´s WYD and Pope Benedict XVI´s message to the youth, continued Wang, a member of the official delegation. Organizers also explained the meaning of pilgrimages and the history of the WYD, the youth worker added. Since participants will see Pope Benedict in Sydney, Bishop Chung said they must understand the pope´s message. The 55-year-old prelate also has encouraged them to read materials the organizers provided about the three-day WYD catechetical program July 16-18, particularly the content about the Holy Spirit. The prelate believes his participation and learning together with the youth will be a good opportunity to understand them better and helpful to his ministry with them. Carmelite Father James Yeh Yuan-liang told UCA News on July 2 that the 36 members in his Bethany group of Hsinchu diocese would leave early for Sydney, on July 6, for an exchange with aboriginal Catholics in Australia. He pointed out his WYD contingent includes two members of aboriginal groups, which account for one-third of the 300,000 Catholics in Taiwan. Hsinchu diocese is based about 60 kilometers southwest of Taipei. The Carmelite priest expects the faith and cultural exchange in Australia to broaden the vision of the Taiwan youth and inspire them to be more active in evangelization. Wang said they will arrange for the 400 WYD participants to share about their experience with those who could not join the international event when the local Church holds its annual youth day later this year. She said various Church groups would also have follow-up plans for the young people to serve or develop in their organizations or parishes. END

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