Asian Catholic Youth Appeal for Peace

Statement From Weeklong Meeting in Bangalore

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BANGALORE, India, AUG. 22, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The 3rd Asian Youth Day which drew participants from 19 countries ended with an appeal for peace.



"We, the young people of the peace-loving continent of Asia, believe in expanding our horizons and embracing our brothers and sisters irrespective of the barriers which divide, suppress, and alienate us," says the final joint statement issued at the end of the Aug. 9-16 event.

According to the 714 young people who attended the meeting here, the most serious emergencies experienced in the continent, in addition to wars, are "terrorism, fundamentalism and suppression of religious freedom."

"We need courage to face reality and to seek what is right, good, and true in our present world, overshadowed with injustice and falsehood," the final statement said. "We will proactively continue to search for things we can do at the local and global levels in our daily lives by collaborating with like-minded people, organizations and movements in order to promote the culture of peace and the civilization of love to reach out to those in need."

The youth meeting was characterized by moments of reflection and prayer on the topics of peace and interreligious dialogue.

Pakistan's day of independence -- Aug. 14, 1947 -- was celebrated during the meeting. Young Pakistanis and Indians prayed that their countries overcome tensions.

Among the officials on hand was Father Felix Machado, of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

The Asian Youth Day was organized by the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (www.fabc.org), the Office of Laity-Youth Desk; hosted by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (www.cbcisite.com/default.htm), and coordinated by the Indian Catholic Youth Movement (www.icym.catholicweb.com).