Dili, East Timor. Aware of the realities and challenges of East and Southeast Asia, the Claretian Family gathered once again, celebrating as a family the Asian Claretians East Youth Gathering 2019 in Claretian Family or commonly known as AEYG 2019 + CF. The theme was “Solidarity: Go, Sell, Share and Follow” based on the Biblical text Mt 19:16-26; Lk 10:25-37. The talks, sharing, tours, day and night activities were all in line with it.
The biennial gathering was held this year at the Our Lady of Fatima Retreat House in Dare, Dili, Timor Leste from August 5 to 11, 2019 with 125 participants from the mission posts of the Claretian Missionaries of East Asia Independent Delegation (China, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan), Korea Independent Delegation (South Korea), Indonesia – Timor Leste Independent Delegation (Indonesia, East Timor), Philippine Province (Australia, Philippines, Myanmar, Vietnam); Asia Province of the Religious of Mary Immaculate Claretian Missionary Sisters (RMI); Missionaries of St. Anthony Mary Claret (MSAMC) missions in Indonesia and Philippines; and the laity of Dili and Indonesia. There were 50 members of the organizing committee.
Bishop of Dili, Most Rev. Virgilio do Carmo da Silva, SDB, DD, celebrated the opening Mass on the second day and at the same time gave the participants a session on “Solidarity in the context of Timor Leste’s Church.”
Bro. Carlos Verga, CMF, General Prefect of Youth and Vocation Ministry of the Claretian Missionaries was also present and gave a talk on solidarity in the Claretian Family congregation.
Sr. Geraldine S. Eusabius, RMI, the Prefect of Apostolic Mission of South Asian Delegation of the RMI, was also one of the invited resource speakers. She said: “I never thought that I could one day come to this side of the world; but really felt that God has planned this for me to bring His message to the young people. Though this was not my first time to be present in the AEYG+CF since I have an experience of AEYG 2015 + CF in Manila, I felt more enriched and belongingness, because, this time my purpose of visit was to participate fully and to be present with the youngsters all the time.”
The organizing committee was very thankful to the national government of East Timor who fully supported the event from the reception of the visitors in the country as well as in some of its needs. The minister of Minister of Education Youth and Sports of Timor-Leste, Her Excellency, Ms. Dulce Soares, RDTL even gave a talk on “The Youth Participation in the Development of the Society in Timor-Leste.”
During the farewell Mass, event coordinator, Fr. Emanuel Lelo Talok, CMF on behalf of the Delegation Government of Indonesia-Timor Leste and the Claretian Family of the same, thanked all those who have been part of the event and said: “If there is a well in the field, may we take a bath together. If there is a long life of ours, may we meet again.”
Here are some of the comments of the participants:
Roberto Joao Bosco Salsinya Soares a 17-year-old participant from East Timor said “I found AEYG as a useful tool to help us youth foster unity and solidarity, to gain compassion and feeling of empathy and to change ourselves. I find it as a good program in developing the youth.”
“At first, I didn’t feel very comfortable with others. But as time went by, I saw Jesus in their hospitality and the love they showed me. I felt sad when we had to go back to our daily lives at the end of this gathering. However, our lives will be more powerful because we are connected with each other mentally and spiritually. Thank you for this gathering and I hope to see you again in the Philippines in 2021.” – Park, Do Il Dominic from Korea
“While searching for my vocation, I happened to know about the AEYG+CF from my parish sister. She recommended me to participate in the event and also other people around me encouraged to do it. It was the first time for me to participate in such this global event, and this made me feel afraid and anxious. However, loving care and laughter of the friends and of many priests helped me to overcome the fear. Everyone took care of and encouraged one another, and it gave me an unforgettable experience. I think I’ve never had before such a moment that I felt childlike, joyful and comfortable like this. I’m not sure if I can have same feeling again in case I participate in the next gathering. I’m really grateful to God, Fr. Michael and all the people who made this possible.” – Seo, Yousung Andrew from Korea
“This is my first time to attend AEYG and this is the most wonderful experience I have. Hopefully with this experience encourage the young people to be in solidarity with others,” says Sarlince Eufemia Rae, a 23-year-old native lady of Nurobo, Indonesia.
“This AEYG 2019 + CF in Dare, Timor Leste is really a great experience for us, to learn, to understand, to respect each other’s diversity. Through this, we are sharing our self to others but first we must learn to open ourselves to other people, through this we are making known Jesus Christ to other people. Thus, we are in solidarity, sharing what we have to others regardless if you are rich or poor. Sharing oneself without conditions. Thank you, Timor, for the love and hospitality we felt. This won’t impose all my precious learnings and experiences but once again, obrigado for everything! God bless us all and see you in Ormoc, Philippines in 2021,” says 22-year-old Gerald Abastillas of the Philippines.
AEYG 2021 + CF is set to rock and roll the youth in Ormoc City, Philippines. In time for the 75th Anniversary of the Claretian Presence of the Claretian Missionaries in the said country.
Photos and videos are available on the Facebook Page of AEYG + CF: https://www.facebook.com/aeygcf/