The World Youth Day Celebration – Sri Lanka, was organized by the Claret way youth and the Claretian communities of CMF, RMI & MC, was held at St. Claret Seminary in Negombo from the 4th to the 6th of August 2023 with the theme of “Mary Arose and Went with Haste”. The event aimed to foster spiritual growth, promote peace building, and connect with the youth in the context of the biblical verse from Luke 1:39 and to celebrate the World Youth Day in solidarity with the worldwide youth. A diverse group of nearly 80 young people from various parts of the country participated.
The first day – 4th commenced with a registration process, and the highlight of this moment was the distribution of carefully curated welcome packages which included a Youth T-shirt, symbolizing unity; a Key tag, signifying a key to spiritual growth; and a World Youth Day prayer card, invoking reflection and connection. Followed by a serene Holy Hour. The evening continued with a delightful dinner and an orientation session, where the theme, schedule, and instructions were introduced.
Second day – 5th, began with an invigorating wake-up session, setting a positive tone for the day. A nourishing breakfast was served. The morning continued with a thought-provoking talk on “Peace Building”, encouraging participants to reflect on the importance of fostering harmony and unity. Then a captivating talk centered around the theme “Mary Arose and Went with Haste” was delivered, exploring the significance of this biblical passage and its relevance in contemporary times. The afternoon excitement continued with entertaining singing and dancing competitions by our very own members of the Claret Way, where the songs were written and composed, energetic dances which amazed the judges and short films with wonderful choreography. The day’s spiritual aspect was honored with an enactment of the mysteries of the Holy Rosary. The evening was lighted up by a memorable campfire session and the day ended with a dance by all the youth enjoying the evening.
Third day – 6th, Sunday commenced with the Holy Mass, allowing participants to experience a profound spiritual connection. Following the Mass, a vibrant cultural show took place, the program began with a warm welcome to our esteemed Chief Guest the provincial superior of the Salesians and Guest of Honors beings the major superiors of the CMF, RMI and MC, acknowledging their presence and contributions. Setting a spiritual tone, the event opens with a moment of reflection and prayer, uniting us in a shared sense of purpose. Then the lighting of the oil lamp a symbolic gesture representing the illumination of knowledge and the spread of positive energy. A heartfelt welcome address by a representative, expressing gratitude and setting the stage for the day’s festivities.
The powerful anthem of the World Youth Day sets the tone for celebrating global unity and inspiration. Followed by Song and Dance Performances, a series of captivating performances showcasing the talents and creativity of our youth. An enlightening speech by the Guest of Honor, sharing insights and motivating the participants. Recognition and awards for the winners of the drawing, short film making, singing, and dancing competitions were given. Followed by was an insightful speech by the Chief Guest on the significance of World Youth Day and appreciating the talents of our youth. An exciting moment as we draw the raffle winners, adding an element of anticipation and fun. A moment of reflection with the Claret Way Action song, connecting us to the organization’s values and vision. The World Youth Day celebration added to the festive atmosphere, a sense of unity and joy permeated the air as participants came together to celebrate their faith journey.
The World Youth Day – Sri Lanka program of the Claret way youth – Sri Lanka was successfully achieved its objectives of fostering spiritual growth, promoting peace building, and providing a platform for the youth to connect, reflect, and celebrate their faith. Through a well-structured itinerary of talks, discussions, competitions, and cultural festivities, participants left the event inspired, rejuvenated, and equipped with valuable insights to incorporate into their daily lives. The event was a true testament to the power of community, faith, and the timeless teachings of Scripture.
Geraldine, RMI Claret Way-Sri Lanka