Accompanying Young People, a call of this Lenten Season
In this AJANews Newsletter, February issue, we will be focusing on how we can accompany young people and youth during this Lent period that began on 22nd February 2023. This Lenten period “we are all invited to become missionary disciples as we are all missionaries by nature”, says Bishop Dominic Kimengich while addressing youth leaders during the AJAN HIV prevention program for the Youth (AHAPPY) Training of trainers in Eldoret.
Youth become missionary disciples when they seek to witness and serve those who are most in need, beginning with those closest to them. Walking with the young people means meeting them where they are. As we engage the young people, it is an opportunity for us to get to understand and help them answer questions that contribute to their physical and spiritual growth; “Who am I?” “What is my life’s purpose?” “Who am I to others?” and “How can I contribute to society?” Authenticity and accompaniment go hand-in-hand.
Pastoral listening is the starting point for accompanying young people in their journey of discipleship. The continued pastoral work being undertaken in various AJAN centers in Africa through the youth for youth initiatives and AHAPPY scale up activities, are both avenues in which young people get to make connections with their peers and forming lasting relationships.
This Lenten period let’s not forget our young people who suffer forms of marginalization and social exclusion for religious, ethnic or economic reasons. Let us not forget the difficult situation of adolescents and young people who become pregnant, the scourge of abortion, the spread of HIV, various forms of addiction (drugs, gambling, pornography and so forth), and the plight of street children, the vulnerable in the society without homes, families or economic resources.
The Lenten reflection of Fr Paul Hamill, sj, Treasurer and development office Director of the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar (JCAM), points out the importance of the two Lenten disciplines Prayer and Almsgiving. In the reflection the value of sharing and giving out without expecting much in return is encouraged in all of us. There is therefore the need to learn not only the value of such sharing and inclusion but perhaps too the imperative to do so from an early age.
Inside this issue get to read about the AHAPPY ToT for the youth leaders that took place in Eldoret, ongoing youth for youth initiative program being undertaken by Ocer Campion Jesuit College in Gulu, Uganda; AHAPPY Training for learners that is running in schools in Rwanda through collaboration with Jesuit Urumuri Center.
AJAN continues with its mandate of accompanying young people through creating engagement with young people to help young disciples encounter Christ and becoming role models in their communities and societies.
AJAN Communications Officer