Bangalore Diocese

“The Ark”
The FirstInter-State Level Youth Exchange Programme by REXCO-2022

The first Inter-State Level Youth Exchange Programme “The Ark” was organized by the REXCO team, Karnataka Regional Youth Commissionon 14-15 May 2022 at St. Joseph’s Church hall,Vythiri, in Wayanad of the Calicut Diocese of Kerala. The programme was titled“The Ark,” which meant “God gathered the chosen one”. The resource team was comprised of eight members from REXCO; Rev.Fr. Lourd Raj-Regional Youth Director, Sr. Magdalene– Regional Youth Lady Animator, Mr. Nevin Antony –President, Miss, KrithikaVaipana–Former secretary, Miss. Martina J –Secretary, Terrence Crasta –Treasurer, Miss Deepthi Sophia –MIJARC Coordinatorand MrSam –YOUCAT representative of Karnataka.

The programme was organized in collaboration with Fr. Gracious Tony, the Parish Priest of St. Joseph’s Church,Vythiri. The REXCO team had a warm traditional welcometo the venue by the youth of the parish.The venue was well arranged by KCYM Youths of Vythiri. Around 70 youth participants and 30 parents took part in this programme.

The First Day- 14th May 2022
The first day of the programme beganat 9.00 amin the church hall. It was inauguratedbylighting the lamp by the dignitaries and the local youth invoked God’s blessings through a prayer song.Rev. Fr. Tony, the parish priest gave a warm welcome to the REXCO team and made us feel at home. In the key-note address Fr. Lourd Raj expressed that ‘the youth are called to make a difference in the church and society. They are NOW of the church, not the future. Indian Catholic Youth Movement offers a perfect platform through various programmes and events for all the youth of our country to witness Christ. He also said the purpose of The Ark programme was to bring a bond between each other and to know the culture of one another. Later MrNevin the regional president took up Ice breaking session and made the participants comfortable.

Ms Martina conducted the first session on ‘Leadership and Teamwork.’The session was comprised of activities based on the theme and an input session. The participants were divided into seven groups.The activities helped the participantsto enhance the leadership qualities that were hidden within them.

After lunch, we had an animation by Miss. Deepthi Sophia and Terrence Crasta, followed by the group discussion. The topic for the group discussion was “The Youth in the Synodal Church”.Seven groups were formed and each group had moderators. At the end of the discussion, each group was asked to chart out a yearly action plan. The youth were enthusiastic about sharing and planning.

After the tea break,Fr. Lourd Raj celebrated the Holy Mass, followed by the Taize Prayer. The REXCO team, with the assistance of a local team, created a serene atmosphere in the hall and the REXCO team led the prayer. The youth were touched by the prayer and, for most of them, it was a first experience in the diocese of Calicut. After dinner,we gathered in the hall for the cultural programme. The groups were divided much early and instructed with the thematical presentation for the cultural programme. Each group creatively participated in the programme. Thus we concluded the first day.

The Second Day-15th May 2022.
The second began with a common prayer led by Sr. Magdalene and Miss. Martina J. After breakfast,once again,all gatheredin the hall for the animations led by Miss. Deepthi Sophia and Terrence Crasta. Thereafter, Sr Magdalene engaged in an interactive session on “The Youth and the Church.”
The resource team organized a workshop in the second session. There were three topics from which the participants were asked to choose one. The topics for workshops were;
1. The Social Media Disease by Miss. Krithika
2. Heart to Heart: Coping Mechanism by Mr. Nevin Antony
3. What should a leader NOT DO? by Fr. Lourd Raj
Each workshop consisted of 20 members.

After the tea break, Mr.Nevin Antony took up the third session on ‘Youth and the Family.’The parents of the youth were invited to this session. The parents expressed their difficulties in handling the children at home and their expectations. On the other hand, the youth too put forth their psychological and mental trauma. They face it in day today’s life. The session made both the parents and youth share their views and opinions with the gathering, which led the youth and parents to a better understanding. Thereafter, the groups were asked to share the report and action plan with the gathering and submit the same to the parish priest followed by the concluding programme.

Later, all were gathered in the church for the thanksgiving mass celebrated by Rev Fr. Milton, concelebrated byFr. Tony and Fr. Lourd Raj. After the Holy Eucharist,Fr. Tony thanked the resource team for motivating the local youth for their active participation. With the lunch, the two-day “The Ark” programme was concluded. We gratefully remember Fr. Gracious Tony for the invitation and the well-organized two-day programme. All of us were well taken care of with love and affection.