Representatives of regional Catholic youth secretariats met with the Local Organising Committee (LOC) January 17–18 to visit proposed sites where various activities of the AEC Youth Assembly (AECYA) will be held next year.
Dominica will host the Assembly from July 15–26, 2021 under the theme, Youth: the face of Christ fully Alive. The focus will be on helping Caribbean youth to become more courageous missionaries.
The January meeting also served to initiate preliminary discussions on the programme and to make other preparations for the event which is expected to bring together over 800 Catholic youth from the English-, Dutch- and French-speaking Caribbean territories.
The AEC Youth Secretariat’s team consisted of Archbishop Kenneth Richards of Kingston, Jamaica, and representatives from Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Grenada, St Lucia and hosts Dominica.
Reporting in the Catholic Standard, Roxanne Douglas, Youth Coordinator, Diocese of Georgetown said that over the years, papal exhortations and encyclicals were the main documents used at each assembly. Pope Francis’ exhortation to young people Christus Vivit, which he wrote after the 2018 synod on youth, will be the main document for the 2021 assembly.
“Conversion is necessary for the entire Church as we hear the call to action by Pope Francis on the Synod of the Amazon. Youth are our future generation, hence the importance of their active role in caring for the environment will also form part of the AECYA 2021 programme,” she said.
Inspiration from WYD
According to the AECYA website the Assembly’s purpose is to put the youth at the forefront, helping them to reaffirm their Catholic identity, and see themselves as vibrant Catholic youth in the region living their call to be disciples.
It is also an opportunity for youth and young adults to gather and interact with other young people from around the Caribbean region, participate in catechetical sessions, experience cultural exchange and to celebrate their Catholic faith through the Word of God and the sacraments.
The inspiration for the AECYA came from World Youth Day (WYD), the worldwide gathering of Catholic youth and young adults. Curacao hosted the first AECYA in 1999. In 2003, it was held in Trinidad and Tobago, 2009 in Jamaica, 2012 in St Lucia, 2015 in Antigua and Barbuda and 2018 in Martinique.