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TALK ON THE YOUTH

TALK ON THE YOUTH BY MR. THEOPHILUS BOAKYE

Chairperson, his lordship the bishop, moderators, my fellow synod fathers and mothers, I feel honoured to be given this opportunity to talk about the youth on this special occasion in the life of the diocese.
Let me first of all, give thanks to my lord bishop for recognizing the youth by giving the opportunity to talk about the youth at the 1st synod for our diocese. Our appreciation again goes to the planning committee who also has given us the space to air our views at this synod.
We hope and pray that this and other opportunities would be given to the youth to contribute their quota in uplifting the diocese in various spheres of our life. 
According to the Oxford Advanced learner’s Dictionary “youth is a period life when a person is young, especially the time before a child becomes an adult’.
Young is a state of having lived or existed for only a short time; not fully developed. I. e. the night is still young that is it has only just started.
•    Youth and the perception of society about youth vary in terms of time, space and societies.
•    Youth can be defined from the perspective of functional, cultural, gender and chronological.
Functionally, it is used to describe the transition period between the social categories of childhood and adulthood which is charaterised by rituals (puberty rite and marriage) and other physical changes in human body.


•    Culturally, it is used in relation to the role that individuals play in a given social context.
•    The Gender definition of youth is where boys and girls experience being young in different ways.
•    Chronologically, the youth are those who fall within a certain age bracket.
•    According to  the NATIONAL YOUTH POLICY OF GHANA {AUGUST 2010 pg 5(3.1)} “it is the period of transformation from family dependent childhood to independent adulthood and integration in the society as a responsible citizen”
•    The UN General Assembly defines youth “as those between the ages of 15 and 24. However, is not legally binding, hence age definition varies from country to country”.
•    The African Youth Charter defines youth “as those between the ages of 15 and 35” which Ghana has adopted in its national policy of August, 2010.
•    The World Council of Churches (WCC) and All African Conference of Churches (AACC) define youth “as those between ages of 15 – 25 and 15 – 30” respectively.
    And it is a period when a young person prepares himself/herself to be an active and fully responsible member of the society.
WHO IS A CATHOLIC YOUTH?
•    Is where a young person who is aged 6 to 45 where he/she prepares him/herself to be an active and fully responsible member of the society and prefers and practice the Catholic faith.
 It is also believed that no matter the age of the person, it is the mind set believing that the person is a youth. 
PROSPECTS:
    Educated youth for the future; both secular and spiritual education. Secular education refers to the country educational system which builds them spiritually in the church doctrines and practices to take up leadership mantle in future.
    Resourceful youth; knowledge acquisition and job to earn a living.
    Vehicle for evangalisation and propagation of the word
    To influence the society
    Ambassadors of the church
    Portray the faith of the church everywhere eg sign of the cross.
    Portraying good behavior all the time.
    Arms giving
CHALLENGES:
    Educational system: 1. Management of schools (influence of the church). 2. Duration 
    Insufficient church educational institutions in the diocese:
    Formation; lack of knowledge about church doctrines and practices
    Peer pressure:
    Drug abuse
    Sexual abuse
    Indiscipline
    Fashion
    Technology
    Parental issues:
    Broken homes
    Zeal for material things to the neglect of children upbringing.
THE WAY FORWARD:
PARENTS
     Teach our child the ways in which he/she should go and he/she will not depart from it. Eph 6:4 “and you fathers, provoke not your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and correction of the lord”
    Spiritual upbringing of children – church attendance and bible studies as well as youth group meetings
     Dress for children Ecclesiasticus 27:7,”be the dressing of a tree sheweth the fruit thereof, so a word out of the thought of the heart of man”.
 Judith 10:4 “and the Lord also gave her more beauty: because all this dressing up did not proceed from sensuality, lent from virtue: and therefore the lord increased this her beauty, so that she appeared to all men’s eyes incomparably lovely”.
3 things to be considered
•    What you teach your child
•    Exemplary behavior
•    Plans made for the child
     Ensuring child education by
•    paying fees and other charges
•    and attending to their home work
THE CHURCH:
     provision of educational facilities and programmes
•    Helping the state in providing educational facilities in lieu of the church doctrines.
•    Structure programmes to form the youth in accordance with the faith of the church( NYCIFOP, summer study sessions, leadership programmes etc)
-    Creating opportunities for the youth in teacher training institutions either by establishing them or going into partnership with sister diocese who has training institution for a quota for diocese to sponsor the youth by bonding them for at least five years.
-    Again we can also as a diocese institute scholarship for our teachers to further for degrees or masters in education, to encourage them stay in the service by bonding them for at least 3 to 5 years. This will help reduce the acute shortage of catholic teachers in our schools.
•    Sustain catechism must be structured to meet today’s needs of the church for effective inculcation of the church beliefs and practices in every stages of the youth life.
Youth
    We must feed ourselves with the word of God and the teaching of the church always.the sacraments becomes very important for our growth in the church. Therefore we must not fail to receive them in due time else we become malnutritioned in our growth in the church.
    Obedience and respect - Eph 6: 1-3” children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is just”.
    Discipline – Philippians 4:8, Hebrews 12:5, prov. 19:25, Ps 2:12, 17:36, 49:17, 118:66” teach me goodness and discipline and knowledge; for I have believed thy commandments”. Job 34:35
    Avail ourselves for the work of the lord and the church.
    We must commit ourselves to be educated and reformed to be resourceful to ourselves and the church
    We must be initiative and innovative in our thinking and working for the growth of the church and ourselves.
    We must be role models for others.
Conclusion
I wish to thank his lordship the bishop, most rev Joseph Osei Bonsu, our chaplain, Rev Fr. Sylvester and the diocesan youth secretariat for their immense support given to the youth and we urge them to do more because there is more to be done for the youth. My speech would not be complete if I fail to part the back of successive youth chaplains and executives who held the fort of the youth since the inception of the diocese 20 years ago. We say may the almighty God bless you all.
May the youth be renewed from our deliberations here for many years to come.
Amen!