by Nov. Samson Carvalho
NASHIK-MAHARASHTRA, DECEMBER 12, 2013: Fr. Ajoy Fernandes, Vice-provincial of the Mumbai Province and Fr. Glenford Lowe, Director DBYS, conducted a four day Salesian Youth Ministry workshop from December 5-8, 2013, for 22 SDB novices and 6 FMA novices at the Salesian Training Institute (STI), Nashik. Sr. Jyoti FMA, Prefect of Studies at SHTC also attended the workshop.
During the formation period, every formee is given a kind of orientation in Youth Ministry. In the Pre-Novitiate phase, basic skills required for youth ministry are imparted, emphasized and developed. During the novitiate stage, novices are given a solid orientation into Salesian Youth Ministry and the various components of the Salesian Youth Spirituality and to be effective and fruitful youth ministers, especially in their weekly oratories.
The first stage, of clearing the ground, began with introducing the whole concept of understanding the difference between Youth ministry and Youth work, and also by clarifying some earlier assumptions and mindsets about the Youth ministry. The young novices were challenged to look at Youth Ministry as a wholistic process, and filtered through the Gospel perspective and our rich Salesian legacy from Becchi and Mornese. Citing simple everyday examples from a band room to the playground, Fr. Ajoy was able to draw the attention of the novices to provide space for all the four dimensions of growth, namely: Physical, Intellectual, Socio-emotional and Spiritual.
Through a lot of practical sessions, Fr. Glenn Lowe invited the novices to get into a planning mentality and to develop organizational skills that are necessary in the youth ministry. The importance of time management was also highlighted. The novices were given an opportunity to take model sessions based on various elements of our Salesian Youth Spirituality. These sessions helped the young minds to focus on the real needs of the young they serve in their oratories and to inculcate, explicitly or implicitly, the elements of the Youth Spirituality.
The novices were delighted to have an opportunity that enabled them to enlarge their vision of Youth ministry and to go back to the young with a 'greater preparedness'. All through the sessions, the various talents and creativity of the novices could be seen spilling over into all their group activities and sessions. One could sense a new orientation towards their Sunday apostolates and to be better planners and shepherds with the young.
The seminar ended with a personal call to commitment and greater dedication to be effective and fruitful ministers of the young. The program was beautifully summed up by a novice, he said "The youth ministry is challenging but we now have a sense of confidence, love and dedication for our youngsters in a more purposeful way. Thanks to Fr. Ajoy and Fr. Glenn."