The Family of God church in N’Djamena is mostly a young congregation. Youth ministry occupies a special place in the Archdiocese and aims essentially at offering special attention to young people who are full of potential and very committed to our young Church. Vocation ministry is one of the entities that make up this great assembly: Youth ministry.
How Youth Ministry is Organised
The Pope’s message for young people, the message of the Bishops of Chad, and the orientations of the diocesan pastoral project are a reference that allows the diocesan commission for youth ministry to draw up a plan of activities for young people with clear orientations for all. At the diocesan level, we have a youth chaplain who works in collaboration with the various parish delegates. This chaplain: provides spiritual direction for the activities of these young people, acts as a bridge between the bishop and them, and accompanies the diocesan youth organisations. Each parish or vicariate manages parish youth coordination. This coordination brings together the various Catholic action movements such as the Scouts, the Guides, the Young Christian Students (YCS), the Young Witnesses of Christ (YWC), and the Young Christian Workers (YCW), as well as many other youth groups and services in the parish.
The different youth activities
Several activities are proposed including the Diocesan Youth Forum, which convenes a yearly gathering of young people with the Bishop. This forum is prepared at each parish youth coordination level based on the worksheets that the Diocesan Youth Ministry Commission has drawn up. Several workshops are offered to young people. At the end of the forum, the commission collects the various resolutions drawn up by the young people and gives them to the local coordinator . This kind of organisation enables a meaningful involvement of the young people in the activities that concern them. Deanery meetings are organised, as well as the participation or hosting of the national forum once every two years, training days for all youth leaders, and weekly meetings in the respective parishes.
Although it’s different from the Youth Commission, the Diocesan Vocations Commission, of which I am a member, works in close collaboration with the latter since it deals with the same young people. However, the Vocations Commission develops its own programme of activities with themes that can help young people to discern their own path. These include themes such as God’s call, faith, and vocational discernment, the highlights of the liturgical year, marriage and the consecrated life, affectivity and sexuality, etc. Recollections and retreats lasting from 3 to 5 days, depending on the group, are offered to some, as well as meetings with the family ministry, visits to the poor, and a gathering with the Bishop on Good Shepherd Sunday. On this occasion, the congregations present in the diocese come to meet the young people to present the different charisms in the Church, some through paintings, others through conferences and testimonies.
Every year, the Vocations Commission draws up worksheets for the parish groups which meet once a week with their parish priest or another designated guide; in most cases, it is a member of the clergy from their parish.
Formation in human, spiritual, biblical, and other domains is offered to them for their development and also to enable them to choose freely, with the help of the Spirit, a path that is their own. The presence of couples, sisters, and diocesan priests in the commission shows the particular grace of God’s call and the different vocations in our Church.
Our Church rejoices in the enthusiasm of young people in the various church organisations.
SOEUR Aline Emmanuel B
Member of the Youth and Vocations Commission of the Rwanda-Chad Province.