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  • Ordinariate Youth Day-2017
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    You are the hope of the Church!


     

    Fr. Hovsep Galstian

     

    On 26 July 2017, the organizers of Ordinariate Youth Day (OYD) welcomed the Armenian priest and young people from Sweden, and the polish group of young people with their priest who came to participate in the Ordinariate youth days. These polish group were representing the young people who welcomed in Poland and in their homes Armenian pilgrims in 2016, during World Youth Day.

     

    Two days before the opening of OYD were very exciting for the groups of guests. First, they were welcomed in the Yerevan catholic parish house, participated in Holy Mass, served by Most Rev. Monsignor Karnik Hovsepian, the Head of the Organizational Group of OYD. With the guidance of the organizers, the group of Armenian young people from Sweden, Russia, Syria and the young polish people visited a number of sightseeing in Armenia. The first place was famous Matenadaran in Yerevan, where ancient Armenian manuscripts are exhibited. Vernisage-the second visit point-is a big market place, where one can see all kind of Armenian craft and art work. In the evening, they prayed for the souls of 1.5 million Armenian killed during the 1915 Armenian Genocide, in the famous memorial of Tsitsernakaberd. The next day they visited the newly built St. John Baptist Church in Abovian, then-Kecharis monastery in Tsaghkadzor and Monastery of Sevan. The polish group separately visited Armenian Catholic monastery of Metsavan in Tashir. After these wonderful visits it was time to prepare for the OYD, which took place in Armenian Catholic Aghajanian Center, near Gyumri. Over 120 young people from Armenian Catholic Communities of Armenia, Georgia, Russian, Greece, Sweden, Syria and a polish group were participating in the event. The opening ceremony took place in the morning of 28 July.

     

    Most Rev. Fr. Karnik Hovsepian gave an opening speech:

     

    «Your presence here is a divine grace for us, dear young people. Because you are the hope of the Church, you are the future of the Church, the beating heart and the driving force of the Armenian Church”.

     

    He stressed, that the OYD is an important historical event in the life of the Armenian Catholic Church, a universal initiative, where young people, devoted to Lord Jesus Christ, come together from various Armenian Catholic communities. He said that the purpose of this event is to give opportunities to the young to get to know Jesus closer. He also reminded them that they are the seeds of peace and love in their communities.

     

    The opening Holy Mass was served by His Excellency Archbishop Raphael Minassian, with the assistance of Most Rev. Fr. Karnik Hovsepian and Fr. Grigor Mkrtchian, the Director of Aghajanian Center, and the concelebration of Armenian Catholic Priests, who were accompanying the young people. His Excellency thanked the young people for their participation and gave a sermon on the spiritual and national identity of participants of this major event-as different by communities and one as Catholic Church. However, this truth offers a responsibility, he said:

     

    ”That responsibility is in witnessing: to witness in life style, in human relationships, in giving examples”.

     

    After the Holy Mass the group of young people from Panik presented the official hymn for OYD, a song which is written and composed by them, namely Salnazarian sisters. During the first day Fr. Karnik introduced the WYD 2017 message of Pope Francis. Mr. Mkrtich Babayan- a project manager from Armenian Caritas-gave a speech on migration, with a data analysis which was accompanied by a lively discussion.

     

    In the afternoon another discussion was organized with separate smaller groups with a priest leading each, on the topic of the challenges of Christian family in nowadays.

     

    In the evening, the young people prayed Rosary with Fr. Hovsep Galstian.

    After a cultural evening was organized in the hall of the center. The participants were invited to introduce their talents singing, dancing, playing musical instruments.

    The polish participants also introduced their polish culture.

    On 29th of July, the second day of the event, a tour was organized for the participants. They visited Armenian Catholic Cathedral Church of Holy Martyrs in Gyumri, where Holy Mass was served for them by Most Rev. Fr.Karnik Hovsepian. Fr. Grigor Mkrtchian, also the parish priest of Gyumri, spoke to the young people after the Mass. Then the group visited the concert hall and historical museum Sev Berd in Gyumri, where they met Mr. Samuel Balasanian, the Mayor of Gyumri, an official very close to the Armenian Catholic Church, who assisted the organization of the Holy Mass served by Pope Francis in Vardanants square, Gyumri, on the 25th of June, 2016. He greeted the young people, appreciating their active participation in the OYD. He also invited them to see the memorial dedicated to historical visit of Pope Francis, built in the territory of Sev Berd, this year.

     

    After Sev Berd, the OYD participants visited Harij Monastery, about 30kms far from Gyumri, and Marmashen Monastery, near Gyumri. After praying together, the group returned to Aghajanian Center.

    The day of 30 July, 2017 started with Holy Mass, served by Fr. Grigor Mkrtchian.

    After, a workshop was organized by Fr. Hovsep Galstian on the topic of “The Young-Champions of Hope”. The participants were divided to smaller groups of 6 people in each of them and were invited to answer questionnaires on their talents, skills, professions, on how they are contributing to the mission of the Church, how they are serving the Lord Jesus in their communities. Then they took part in active group discussions and presented their conclusions, summaries to the general audience.

    The workshop was followed by an introduction of community associations of young people, their activities and future projects.

    The participants were happy to meet Monsignor Rafal Grzelshyk, who came from Poland to visit them. In July 2016, Monsignor Rafal with the group of polish youth of Plotsk organized the project “Ticket for the brother”: they managed to collect a large sum of donations for Armenian young people to care for their accommodation and travel expenses during Diocesan days in Plotsk, and to reach Krakow. Fr. Rafal spent an hour with the youth.

    Sports, water games made the afternoon hours entertaining and amusing.

    Close to the sunset, they prayed Holy Rosary with lit candles. Then balloons were sent up to the sky with a shape of Rosary bids. Young people were singing devotional songs to the Holy Virgin Mary and asking to protect them:

    The day concluded with a concert in the hall. Famous singers from Gyumri made the participants happy: they were dancing for hours. Most Rev. Fr. Karnik Hovsepian resumed the event and said:

    My dream is to make these Ordinariate youth days Armenian Catholic World Youth Days. May God help me to realize my dream next year here in Armenia”.

    Fr. Karnik also gave symbolic presents to the parish priests who assisted to the organization of OYDs.

    As the event was approaching to its end, a cozy campfire was made outside, while the participants where still dancing and amusing themselves, preparing for the farewell in the morning with the hope to meet again in this same place next year with new hopes and ideas.

     

    The group of Armenian Catholic Young People are grateful to His Exc. Archbishop Raphael Minassian, Renovabis, Aid to the Church in Need and Holy See Dicastery for Family and Laity, for the priceless support and assistance to the project of Ordinariate Youth Day-2017 to come true.

     

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