Taiwan Youth Day     2010

¡§The Church in Taiwan Is Young¡¨

      Impressed by the lively singing and the jubilant cheers of young people during the opening day of the Taiwan Youth Day on August 24th, Msgr. Paul Russell, the Vatican Charge d'Affaires in Taiwan, could not hold his admiration and encouragement as he greeted the participants: ¡§The Church in Taiwan is young! The Church in Taiwan is enthusiastic!¡¨

      Almost 450 young people from all the dioceses in Taiwan gathered in Hsinchu Diocese, this year¡¦s host for the 5th Taiwan Youth Day. It was a week¡¦s event with days to reflect on the theme: ¡§Master, what must I do to gain eternal life?... Lord, I want to follow you¡¨ taken from the message of Pope Benedict XVI to the World Youth Day 2010.

      The activities were focused on experiencing communion, youthful liturgies, visits to Catholic shrines, a day of service in different social work centers, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the Way of the Cross that relates to real life situation, and actual evangelization.

      During the official opening ceremony, Bishop Thomas Chung of Chiayi Diocese who is presently head of the National Youth Commission, invited the young people to: ¡§Open your hearts, open to learn how to follow Christ more closely!¡¨

      This year¡¦s Taiwan Youth Day is the fourth in a series of seven which is an annual celebration hosted by the seven Dioceses. The contents were varied and enriching as well as with depth and energizing for the young people who felt challenged to reflect and to decide how to live their Christian faith with greater closeness with the Lord.


      The opening ceremony included presentations from each Diocese who had their one-day gathering before coming to Hsinchu, shown as a role play or an interpretative dance. They depicted the search and longing for Jesus by presenting the Church¡¦s response to the flood and natural calamities, the 150th celebration of the evangelization in Taiwan, the challenge for a more safe and green environment, and the challenge for a cultural integration among the Han Chinese and the aboriginal tribes, and other existing minority cultures as we become one body ¡V the Church ¡V following Christ.

      ¡§I was hoping to end my summer vacation with a new light in life¡¨, said by one youth from Chiayi Diocese. Many young people had been longing to be part of this Taiwan Youth Day. It meant for some, saving money to be able to pay for the expense ; it meant giving up summer jobs, and many other forms of sacrifice just to be here, just to experience being with the other young people who are moved and attracted by the invitation ¡§to follow Jesus.¡¨

August 25-26th    The young people were divided into four for each of the four Deaneries, to know more and to be part of the different social works, to appreciate the beautiful sites and special features of the City of Hsinchu and to visit distinctive shrines like St. Therese, Our Lady of Loreto, the Chinese Martyrs. It was also an exposure to the culture of the place and to be with local families for an overnight stay.

August 26th    It was an evening of silent prayer, with locally composed songs repeatedly sung to lead into deep prayer as the young people remained in the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and to be reconciled individually with 15 priests to listen to them and let them hear the words of Jesus saying: ¡§Your sins are forgiven,¡¨ and finally make their own expression of adoring the cross, symbol of our salvation.

August 27th     The whole day was a reflection on how to share the faith, how to invite others, how to evangelize. There were 15 different workshops, different instances for evangelization, for living the faith and be witnesses, how young people can act and be part of them. The afternoon was an actual form of sharing the faith, walking along different roads within Hsinchu City to talk about the faith, to feel the joy of being listened to and to experience being rejected by those who did not have any interest.

      The evening was a kind of climax with a rock-type musical concert, to sing together and to the public that gathered on the open theater just in front of the train station. The theme song of TYD 2010 is entitled ¡§Good¡¨. It was sung filled with youthful energy and excitement giving a vibrant unison expressing the joy they felt during the past days. A famous band and some singers joined our local lead band to an evening of songs and witnessing.


      The closing ceremony on August 28th included a flash back power point presentation of the past days spent together, those colorful and youth-filled days depicting the stages in ¡§following of Jesus¡¨ to gain eternal life. Then the Archbishop of Kaoshiung expressed his warm invitation to the young people ¡§See you in Kaoshiung next year.¡¨

      The closing Mass was the moment for the young people to offer their final thanks and commitment to Jesus. Then, the youth of Kaoshiung received the TYD banner from Bishop Thomas Chung.


      Young people from other dioceses saw how the Hsinchu parishioners expressed their following of Jesus though enthusiastic service to the many needs of more than 400 youth.

      One young university student expressed: ¡§I have received so much from the Church, from the care and love of missionary priests that brought me to where I am today. I want to do the same, to serve others.¡¨

      One Japanese youth, Shimon Mashima, who participated expressed: ¡§Taiwanese Youth are very enthusiastic, very friendly! TYD is great!¡¨ He became close to Taiwanese youth during the Asian Youth Day in the Philippines last year.


      Most Rev. John Baptist Lee, the Bishop of Hsinchu Diocese, with the help of his Vicar General, Most Rev. James Liu, mobilized energetically all the parishes, schools, religious groups, and families to participate in Taiwan Youth Day (TYD) 2010. For eight months, meetings were held to plan and prepare thoroughly for the TYD. More than a hundred youth volunteered selflessly in this activity. Hsinchu will be remembered as one place with so much involvement of the whole diocese!

      Blessings, thanksgiving and honor to God! These were the sentiments of all those who participated in the TYD 2010. Indeed, profound and sincere gratitude to Most Rev. John Baptist Lee, Most Rev. James Liu and to St. Peter¡¦s High School that hosted the youth for all activities, as well as the whole diocese of Hsinchu!

(From the Youth Section, Commission for Evangelization, Chinese Regional Bishops¡¦ Conference, September 7, 2010)

Some video clips of TYD 2010
Issue 313, September 2010

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