Justice and the environment: Youth Camp themes in Guyana

Paul Martin SJ working with the young Catholics of Guyana
Paul Martin SJ working with the young Catholics of Guyana

The Jesuits in Guyana are working with the Diocese of Georgetown on a programme to help the country’s young people become leaders in the Church and to be stewards of God’s kingdom. The diocese’s youth office is currently running a youth camp in Kayuaka – for seniors and juniors – to provide a starting point for leadership-training programmes in the diocese, through prayer and activities that help them to identify their strengths as leaders in their churches.

The camp is being organised by the youth office of the diocese under the leadership of Miss Roxanne Douglas and has been supported by the youth council. Among the presenters helping the young Catholics to use their own talents in the service of the Church is Fr Paul Martin SJ, the Regional Superior of the Jesuits in Guyana.

“In our modern times, youth have the hardest task to cope with the world,” explains Fr Jerri Dias SJ, the Pastor for the North Georgetown Cluster of churches who is also the Director of Catholic Media Guyana. “This spills over in our churches when our youth struggle to exercise leadership roles. There are a number of secular, practical and other challenges that contribute to the struggle. This camp will basically help the youth to pray and to identify their own strengths to be future leaders in our churches. This camp also will be a point of departure for many long-term leadership-training programmes in the diocese. This will equip our future young Catholics to be the stewards of God’s kingdom.”

Stewards of God's kingdomThe Senior Leadership Programme in Guyana

The senior camp will focus primarily on identifying the justice and peace issues in the context of Jesus’ teaching. Young Catholic will have opportunity to explore modern day problems such as violence and injustice, thereby providing a path towards effective stewardship in parishes and families and equipping them to eliminate negativity and identify opportunities to be stewards of justice and peace.

“The youth are being lead to reflect on several life and faith related aspects,” says Fr Jerri. “Primarily, they will be led to reflect on God’s call to each one. God’s call is not only for ourselves but for our fellow humans and our nature because our youth can use the gifts in service of God’s family.”

In addition to contemplation through adoration, prayer and mass, the young participants have the opportunity to exercise their gift to care for the nature by planting saplings. This allowed them to put into practice what has been presented. They also have time to relax, both in the freshwater creek and through playing games.

Fr Jerri concludes by offering a prayer:

Let us pray for our youth who are the future of our Church. Let us encourage and support them to be stewards of the Gospel and evangelisation in our world. Casting out negativity and embracing the positivity in our youth could do this. Youth have talents, gifts, creativity, dreams and energy to bear witness to Christ in this furious changing world. As Pope says, let us do away with the pettiness and embrace bigger issues as suggested by Christ, “justice, mercy and good faith”.