After almost a year and a half of virtual sessions, 16 participants of the Asian Youth Leadership Program from India, Holy Land and the Philippines came together from July 24 - 29 for an encounter entitled Youth Leadership in the Post-Pandemic World at Montfort Sadan, Pune, India.

Pune Asian Youth Encounter 2The group wrestled with topics and issues on leadership, human and spiritual formation. Present at the encounter also were members of the Youth Leadership Program Steering Committee: Reeves Rodrigues, Charisse Raagas, Reillne Ambion, Emmanuel Joseph Innis and Michael Angelo Manuel and three country facilitators, Monnitte Monana (Holy Land), Eloisa Palisada (Japan) and Sylvia Fernandes (India). They were graced by the presence of Pilar Ferrer, Sector A4 Director and Gregoria Ruiz, member of the General Council. The lone participants from Taiwan and Japan were not able to make it for personal reasons.

Day 1, July 24 – With most leaders from the Philippines still uncertain to come over some immigration issue that would later be resolved, the group that was already present felt sad but tried not to let the news dampen their spirits. They spent the evening with games and sharing on one’s “emotional journey”.pune collage

Day 2, July 25 - The opening ceremony began with the Indian participants greeting the foreign delegation with the traditional Tika marked on their forehead. A message from Maite Uribe, President of the Teresian Association, read by Gregoria Ruiz, recalled how the program realized a dream of forming and empowering youth animators, making them “effective evangelizers of the Gospel in Asia”. She called on the participants to put what they learned from the encounter to practice.

Leena Immanuel spared no time and introduced the topic on emotional intelligence. Reeves Rodrigues did a workshop on empathy. The participants found these themes very useful.

Day 3, July 26 - More topics were covered on this day. Leena Immanuel returned in the morning and took up Three Big Goals. The participants shared their dreams for the future. In the afternoon, Trupti Oliveira handled more team building activities which centered on mutual trust. Reeves Rodriguez discussed about blocks in relationships and on the importance of forgiveness. The group from the Philippines finally arrived and were greeted warmly. They came in time for the Eucharist celebration.

Day 4, July 27 – On the eve of the feast of the Founder’s martyrdom, the group split up for an exposure trip.

  • The first group went to SCOPE, a non-governmental organization that helps lower Caste families get access to basic needs through cooperation.
  • The second group went to Snehelaya, a foundation for differently abled children. The group toured the facilities and the souvenirs that the children created.
  • The last group went to the early grader school adopted by the Poveda Foundation where pupils were given lessons on basic conversation and greetings in English.

Day 5, July 28 – On the feast of St. Pedro Poveda, the participants went through a debriefing on yesterday’s exposure trip. Each group shared their insights and reflections about the experience, of doing much for others and of being grateful of what they had in life. In the afternoon, Fr. Linus Dabre explained the Church’s stand on issues revolving around human sexuality such as contraception, pornography, abortion, premarital sex and same sex marriage.

Later, Pamela Zuzarte facilitated the activity on personal project. The Philippines and Holy Land presented their own plans. The former wanted to raise the level of awareness of young people on current issues while the Holy Land saw themselves advocating efforts to fight climate change.


Day 6, July 29 - On the final day, the participants bared their future plans after the program. The organizers also shared with them the different TA projects and activities in their respective countries of origin. They vowed to be more actively involved. The group then travelled to Pune Cathedral where a closure Eucharist awaited them presided by Bishop Thomas Dabre. He expressed how happy he was to see the participants and his love for young people who continue to dedicate themselves in the ministry.

Back in Montfort, the group were awarded certificates. Gregoria Ruiz and Pilar Ferrer gave their parting words to the group with the hope of seeing them succeed in their plans and future endeavors. They also thanked the steering committee for the painstaking work they did to make the encounter possible.

Emmanuel Joseph Innis.




Published in Newsclicdedito