Youth Formation Movement, Old Goa



Like the parable of the mustard seed, a tiny seed was sown in June 1966 when Rev. Fr. George D’Sa, S.J. (Who subsequently became the Founder Director of the Youth Formation Movement) gave a retreat to a small group of 25 S.S.C. students in Bom Jesus Retreat House. This retreat awakened in Fr. George the need to transform the youth in order to bring peace, unity and justice in the family, society, country and the world at large. He saw ho precious and enthusiastic the youth were, so full of good will and sincerity, ready to sacrifice themselves for their fellow human beings and country. 

He realized that the youth of today were citizens of tomorrow. They would be the leaders and pillars of the country. They only needed guidance and if they were put on the right path at this tender age, they would take care of the future, bring peace, unity and goodwill wherever they were. Little did he know that this tiny seed would sprout and spread far and wide all throughout the world.

Objects of the Movement:

The objects of the Youth Formation Movement (also known as Youth Retreat Movement) are:

- to guide the youth of today to the right path and to make them responsible citizens and leaders of tomorrow.

- to support and collaborate with individuals, groups, organizations seeking better alternatives for character development and the growth of individuals.

- to provide retreats, counselling, undertake mediation and conflict resolution and thereby help people cope with and resolve their problems.

- to provide charity and relief to the poor and needy.

- to provide educational subsidy, scholarship, etc. for students in need.

- to carry on such further and other charitable objects and activities.

The Target Groups:

The programs and activities of the Youth Formation Movement are open to all, irrespective of religion, caste, creed or colour.

The main program is however offered only to S.S.C. students at this particular point of time, critical in their lives. In addition, other programs and activities, detailed below, are also offered at and from the Bom Jesus Retreat House, Old Goa.

The Programmes:

The current programmes and activities of the Youth Formation Movement are:

a) Retreats for S.S.C. students.

b) Retreats, counselling, mediation and conflict resolution programs for other individuals, groups, etc.

c) Visits and talks to schools, other institutions, etc.

d) Networking and linkage with Lights of the World Movement, a follow-up program of the S.S.C. student 

e) Educational Scholarships.

f) Charity Aid

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  We believe that the future of the Church belongs to young people. This has been a deep rooted conviction of the Catholic Church. Youth ministry is one of the many expressions of the ecclesial action. Catholic youth ministry aims at the holistic and integral formation of every young person, and strives to draw young people to responsible participation in the life and mission of the Church. 

Young persons who choose Christ are strong, and they are fed by His word and they do not need to stuff themselves with other things in life. They will have the courage to swim against the tide. The youth in Khanapur were given some input on youth ministry and thus started the Youth Group at Parish Level by Fr. Kustas. One of the Sundays father had announced regarding the forming a youth group at Parish level. This triggered the minds of the youth and interested young people gave their names. 

In the beginning there were not more than 25 youth but slowly as the activities were happening in the group rest of the youth also made their debut. At present there are a good number of youth in the group, very active and dedicated ones. The youth meet every Sunday or every fortnight where they discuss the activities to be done in that month and evaluate the past events or activities done by a group. Every member of the group contributes Rupees Fifty per month for common purpose.

Some of the activities in a group the year 2018-2019

Ø A visit to Bailhongal, home for disabled children. The idea was to share some happiness with these children so that they could cherish those moments. The youths felt blessed after visiting this place and felt that they were fortunate that God blessed them with bodies functioning properly. The youths witnessed that though these children were unable to perform their daily task properly, they never lost hope. One of the thing which they learnt from these children is to remain strong even in the midst of adversity. 

Ø A visit to Nesargi – one of our mission stations made them aware of the social problems of the people living there and the programmes undertaken to solve them. This encouraged the youths to take initiative towards making a difference in people’s lives. 

Ø The youth also got the opportunity to visit Deshnur and got to know the about the Swami apostolates and the presence of Jesuit Swamis over the last few decades. It was the Swami apostolate that brought people of other faith together to work for common good.

Ø A group building day was organized where the youths went to a place called Harsanwadi. They took with them all the necessary things for cooking and prepared food for themselves. They were given time to share their struggles and their joys. After food, they spend some time playing games and relaxing from their daily chores. This exposure was to build a rapport within the group. 

Ø As we are in the season of Lent, the youth group planned a pilgrimage to Nandgad – a place 10 km from Khanapur. Around 34 youths made this pilgrimage accompanied by Fr. Kustas, the youth director of Khanapur. It was not a vacation or a sightseeing tour, but a prayer and quest to encounter the Lord. By making this pilgrimage, the youth learnt that the ultimate goal of our life in union with God and that our whole life, therefore, should be a prayer in itself. Some of the youth expressed that this pilgrimage helped them to encounter and experience the Divine in their day to day life.