Preliminary meetings have been held in preparation of the Catholic Church’s 7th Asian Youth Day (AYD), scheduled for 30 July-6 August 2017 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Representatives from 16 countries met on 20-24 March during the ‘Days of the Diocese’ at the Sanjaya Pastoral Centre in Muntilan, a place known as the ‘Bethlehem of Java’ in Central Java. The meeting was the fifth organized in preparation for the upcoming continental event.
Although it was not the first, the gathering in Muntilan was used to rehearse the 7th AYD. Several important officials from the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC) were present, coming from continent’s four regions: East Asia (South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau), South-East Asia One (Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia), Asia South-East Two (Indonesia, East Timor, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Philippines) and South Asia (India and Bangladesh). Representatives of Catholic Organisations for Youth in Asia (COYA) were also present.
Fr Dwiharsanto, head of the Steering Committee and former Executive Secretary of the Commission of Youth of the Indonesian Bishops' Conference, said that Filipino Bishop Joel Baylon of Legazpi, head of the Office of Laity and Family of the FABC, and Bishop Cornelius Sim of the Sultanate of Brunei also attended the meeting along with representatives from Indonesia’s 11 dioceses. Foreign participants to the five-day ‘Days in the Diocese’ were hosted by religious congregations. The event enabled participants to live with “new families” and experience Indonesia’s multicultural, multiethnic and multi-religious society.
Bishop Sim told AsiaNews that "after this meeting in Muntilan, young Brunei Catholics will be better motivated by the spirit to participate in this international event. Young Indonesians and volunteers are enthusiastic and we are delighted to be part of the next World Day. " According to Bishop Baylon, young people taking part in the 7th AYD in Indonesia "are spiritually and morally motivated to understand the real situation of the countries in which they live and in which they participate in the Church's life.” Hence, “We encourage them to reflect upon their real life with other people from different cultures, languages, traditions, and values." (Source: AsiaNews)