From 30 November to 2 December, the movement celebrated a quarter century in the Gulf with meetings, stories, Masses and confessions. The Pope granted Participants a special indulgence. “We are alive because we bring the joy of our encounter with Jesus to others,” said Bishop Padilla.
Abu Dhabi (AsiaNews) – “Recollect, Reconnect, Rejoice” are the keywords that marked the three-day silver jubilee celebrations of the Jesus Youth Movement (JYM) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) held at St Anthony’s Church in Ras Al Khaimah from Saturday till Monday (30 November-2 December).
Vicar of southern Arabia Mgr Paul Hinder, Vicar of northern Arabia Mgr Camillo Ballin, Apostolic Nuncio to the Arabian Peninsula Mgr Francisco Padilla, were also present, along with the movement’s leaders and founders, who travelled from India: Jesuit Fr Abraham Pallivathukal, Baby Chacko, Manoj Sunny, Edward Edezhath and C C Joseph.
The three days included meetings, in-depth discussions, music, presentations, and stories of faith as well as Eucharistic adorations, daily Masses and time for confession.
The theme chosen for the conference was ‘Do whatever he tells you’ (Jn 2:5), words by the Virgin Mary to the servants at the Wedding at Cana. Each day was dedicated to reflecting on a particular aspect of the theme. Day one focused on “You”, whilst days two and three were centred on “He” and “Do”.
The JYM, which defines itself as a "missionary movement within the heart of the Church", was founded in Kerala (southern India) in 1985 with a focus on evangelising among young people and nurturing their missionary spirit.
The group sowed its first seeds in the UAE when it started a fellowship in Dubai in 1994. Presently, it has a strong presence in all of the country’s parishes.
In the opening Mass, Mgr Hinder announced that Pope Francis had granted a special plenary indulgence to all those taking part in the celebrations, the sacramental confession and the communion in accordance with his intentions.
In his homily, Mgr Padilla said that the movement is now present in 35 countries, including most Emirates. The life of its members and their mission, he added, are “to experience the joy, vitality and fullness of union with the life of Christ.”
“I am sure the reason for the expansion of the Jesus Youth movement is the hunger of its members for Christ and the truth,” added the apostolic nuncio.
“What we need to concentrate on is simply sharing the joy of our encounter with Christ to others [. . .] seeking to bring our brothers and sisters, friends, neighbours, colleagues to Jesus and let him reveal to them their vocation in this world. May this be the fruit of the jubilee celebrations.
The prelate also urged movement’s members “to do more, to invite more, to travel more to other places to convince people of this wonderful and joyful experience and to preach the message of Jesus Christ, thus becoming true evangelisers.”
Citing Pope Francis's Evangelii Gaudium, he said that the apostolic exhortation “reawakens all of us to the mission”. Indeed, “We are alive because we bring the joy of our encounter with Jesus to others. We are breathing so that we can attract others through that joy to come and meet the Lord.”