Young People of Solomon Islands Opt For Chastity Until Marriage

Attend a Meeting in Preparation for 2005 WYD in Cologne

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HONIARA, JULY 28, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Youth in the Soloman Islands attend seminar on chastity entitled "True Love Waits," organized by the Salesian Fathers as a preparation for World Youth Day 2005 in Cologne, Germany.



The meeting, held in the diocese of Honiara from July 18-20, was inspired by John Paul II's "Angelus" message on the feast of St. Maria Goretti, during which he said: "Today pleasure, egoism, and even immorality are often exalted in the name of false ideals and happiness."

Hilda Monica Anihoniara, leader of the event, told the Fides agency that "after the sexual revolution of the 60s, young people of the Solomon Islands are divided between the new fashions -- characterized by consumerism, materialism, and hedonism -- and traditional values. This puts them in crisis: they need new points of support and the Holy Father offers these with force."

About 20 young people spent the weekend reflecting on these topics and publicly committed themselves to chastity until the sacrament of marriage.

"I have understood that I myself am a gift for the person with whom I commit myself to live in matrimony. I want to remain pure so as not to spoil this gift," Vincent Isa said at the end of the seminar.

"I have discovered the meaning and value of my own person," Patricia Saman added. "The weekend has put on my horizon a great number of challenges," Doreen Mazana commented.

The young people were given time for formation, personal reflection, and prayer. In addition, some Catholic married couples gave their testimony of conjugal life, emphasizing the need for communication, forgiveness, respect, and responsibility.

The Solomon Islands, in the Pacific Ocean, have close to 500,000 inhabitants, 88,000 of whom are Catholic according to the Church's Statistical Yearbook. There are 5 bishops, 29 diocesan priests, 25 priest religious, 14 men religious, 80 women religious, 2 lay missionaries, and 1,090 catechists.