, 28 November, 2019 / 2:48 AM
A year after the Synod of Bishops' special assembly on Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment proposed the creation of an advisory body that would reinforce the work done by the Vatican-based Youth Office of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, one of the 20 members appointed to the newly established International Youth Advisory Body, South African Dominique Yon, has shared with ACI Africa about her reaction at the news of her appointment announced Sunday, November 24.
“My nomination to be part of the International Body of Young People came as a big surprise. I am honored to have been selected,” Ms. Yon from South Africa’s Cape Town city told ACI Africa in an interview Tuesday, November 26.
Asked about how she received the news of her appointment, the 27-year-old Yon said, “I was at home (and) I was sent for a letter via email and post to inform me.”
“By the grace of God, I look forward to adding value to this committee, as I proudly represent Southern Africa and hope to ensure the voices and challenges of our young people are recognized at this level,” the South African youth said.
The 20 youth appointed to the advisory body participated in a youth meeting convened by the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life on the post-synodal apostolic exhortation Christus vivit (Christ is alive) in June.
Recalling her engagement in youth activities at the grassroots since childhood, Ms. Yon told ACI Africa, “I have been actively involved with my parish, Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Durbanville since I was nine years old as an altar server and at 15, I was an altar server coordinator.”
She added, “Once I was confirmed, I assisted the confirmation and Youth Alpha programs as a group leader and when we started Life Teen, I headed the marketing portfolio while leading a small group. I was then made the coordinator for Life Teen and confirmation classes for two years, and have most recently started a young adults group called “Encounter” at my parish.”
“In January 2015, I was invited to join the Cape Town Youth Chaplaincy team as the event coordinator whereby I have helped organize numerous Archdiocesan and national events aimed at equipping and empowering our youth, young adults and youth leaders,” Ms. Yon shared.
She has continued to play her leadership role among her peers within the Church.
“In January 2019, I was appointed the official youth chaplaincy coordinator position and assistant to the youth chaplain for the Archdiocese of Cape Town,” she added.
Other youth appointed to the body from Africa include Béatrice Camara from the Western Africa nation of Guinea and Moses Ojok from Uganda in East Africa.
“The group will have an important consultative and proposal-making role to play. They will assist the Dicastery with issues related to youth ministry and other topics of more general interest,” reads in part the Press release of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life dated November 24.
Appointed for a period of three years, the 20 members who are drawn “from different regions of the world and some international movements, associations and communities” are expected to convene for their maiden meeting in Rome next April.
Other countries represented include USA, Canada, El Salvador, Puerto Rico, Chile, Indonesia, India, Japan, Slovenia, Netherlands, Lebanon, Brazil, and Australia. The international movements, associations and communities represented are the Austria-based Salesian Youth Movement, Taizé community in France, Italy-based Catholic Action International Forum, and Youth Teams of Our Lady in Portugal.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa