The Oasis Reporters
August 30, 2019
By Moses Gbande, Jos
To lessen the problem of unemployment among Nigeria’s teeming youths, the general society, Church, voluntary organizations and the government, have been called upon to seek ways of bringing about sustained vocational empowerment programs for them.
This Call, among other issues were raised during the 17th General Assembly of the Catholic Archdiocese of Jos, held at the Sacred Heart Pastoral Center in Jos, the Plateau State capital.
In a Pastoral message issued by Most Rev. Ignatius A. Kaigama, the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese and the Chancellor, Very Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Ray Ikpa made the presentation at the end of its General Assembly in Jos.
“We must all understand that individually and collectively, we must do something towards our youth and this is why we have chosen the theme, “An evaluation of the youth Apostolate in the Catholic Archdiocese of Jos” to remind us of our various responsibilities whether as individuals, the Church, voluntary organizations or the government.
“It is incumbent on all to seek ways of bringing about sustained vocational youth empowerment programs to lessen the problem of unemployment among the youth.
“This is the thought that informed the establishment of the Bokkos Interfaith Vocational Training Centre by the Catholic Church in 2011.
“We call on the youth to participate actively along with other groups as requested by Pope Francis to celebrate the Extraordinary Missionary Month of October 2019 by making a personal encounter with Christ, to be witnesses like the missionary saints and martyrs to engage in deeper biblical, catechetical, spiritual and theological reflection for missionary activity and missionary charity by investing time, talent and resources for the spread of the Gospel.
“0 Mary, the simple young girl, from the small village of Galilee, pray for us, and for all our young brothers and sisters, so that we can experience the love of God, a love that gives us the courage to carry forward what God asks of us, living our faith without or shame. Jesus we trust in you”.
PRACTICAL MEASURES IN CARING FOR THE YOUTH
Having discerned and reflected on our theme, we recognize the frustrations of our youth who are largely unemployed due to our nation’s slow industrialization, weak systems and institutions which have hindered the creation of jobs and our economic and social progress. Our youth have not sufficiently benefited from a robust social investment programme, and vocational and skills acquisition initiatives that will translate to wealth creation.
“Although our government is said to be doing something in this direction, it has not made any profound impact on our youth. We therefore implore the government to be committed to its responsibility by being sensitive to the needs and difficulties of young women and men […]’ (National Youth Policy 2009, pp.14-15, Article 3.3) who yearn for a better life through the revamping of education and agriculture, the provision of health care services, rail transport, power, water and sanitation, rural and urban roads.
“We urge our youth to explore their talents and engage in useful schemes that will improve their wellbeing.
“As a Church, we remain committed to our prophetic mission of caring for souls and helping our youth to grow in faith, recognizing Jesus Christ as the Way, the Truth and the Life through whom salvation is gained (cf. Jn. 14: 6). Our youth should realize that this is our mission and we are committed to it. They should separate our role from the government’s. We have continued to complement the role of our government by offering education, health and social services through our institutions and various intervention agencies such as the Justice Development and Peace/Caritas (JDPC), the Archdiocesan Women Empowerment Programme (AWEP) and the Dialogue, Reconciliation and Peace (DREP) Centre. We are concerned about the economic wellbeing of our youth.
” While we do not have the capacity to engage all our youth as teachers, doctors, nurses and social workers in our institutions, we will continue to support them to achieve their goals. As a fruit of our General Assembly, we shall begin the process of developing the Catholic Youth Economic Programme (CYEP) and raising an economic team that will initiate, plan and execute economic programmes for our youth in the Archdiocese.
“We shall organize a platform for interaction between our Priests, Religious and Laity with our young Catholics to make the youth gain deeper understanding about the essence and functioning of the Church.
“We are concerned about the low level of knowledge of our young people about the composition and structure of the Church and the material resources available to the Church. The youth need to know that the Church is not an abstraction but the body of Christ which is composed of Priests, Religious and Laity (including the youth). They should not point to the ‘Church‘ as if it exits without them.
‘ This forum will help the youth to know that the Church cares for all her members, especially the children, teenagers, adolescents and young adults. They need to realize that the Archdiocese, as always, will use the resources available to it to design and execute programmes that will strengthen their faith and improve their wellbeing. They too should volunteer their time, energy and talents to make the Church stronger and an Inclusive home for us all. “