By Gilbert Ekezie
The 2017 Lagos Archdiocesan Catholic Young Adults’ Association (CYAA) Week was celebrated recently. And, for long, the impacts it made in the Catholic Church and the society at large would remain indelible in the minds of participants, who are mostly unmarried members of the church.
The celebration, which took place at the Archangel’s Parish, Satellite Town, Lagos, had the theme “Mary, Our Model and Teacher of Faith.” It featured charity visits, lectures on topical issues and ended with thanksgiving. Participants visited an orphanage in Festac Town, Lagos, and donated food and other items for the upkeep of the children.
Archdiocesan chaplain of the group, Rev. Fr. Anthony Godonu, charged the CYAA to use the occasion to reflect on some of their attitudes that had led to the disruption of the growth and development of their potential.
He urged them to make efforts to climb to greater heights today and in the future.
“There must be proper preparation in order to prevent poor performance. Every day in our country, more graduates are being rolled out to the streets, searching for employment. But the question is, are they employable? This is a major challenge for the youth and young adults of our time,” he said.
Godonu opined that, for young people to be relevant in the labour market, they must make themselves employable: “Apart from this, they should strongly consider skill acquisition for entrepreneurship because the labour market today is already saturated with graduates and, unless they acquire new knowledge, they will only end up in the labour market without any assurance.”
The cleric stressed the need for commitment and focus on future goals, as well as eliminating distractions.
He said, “We shouldn’t also, as young adults, forget that hard work plus prayer equals success. So, if one wants to succeed in life, he should have God as his back-up and hard work as a coat of arms.”
He further explained that the saying “if you cannot beat them, then join them” should be applied in a positive way, where it counts: “In this case, if someone is an entrepreneur and you cannot beat the person, then you join him or her in becoming an entrepreneur.”
Archdiocesan president of CYAA, Mr. Israel Nwabuisi, noted that the feast was a period when members of the association gather under one roof to celebrate.
He explained that, prior to 2012, there had been various names like Young Catholic Workers, Catholic Young Workers Organisation of Nigeria, Young Catholic Professionals, Young Catholic Movement, Catholic Young Women Organisation and Catholic Boys Organisation.
He added that CYAA was adopted during a convention in 2010, with all adult youth groups in the archdiocese in attendance, at the Lay Apostolate Centre, Lagos. Since then, it has been an umbrella body for Catholic adults, single and married, within the ages of 26 and 45.
Nwabuisi stated that the association has grown bigger each year with the infusion of more spirituality, charity works and other empowerment projects for the benefit of its members and the public.
“We work to foster unity among Catholic adults in all the parishes. Our motto is ‘Service to God for the benefit of humanity.’ St Francis of Assisi, one of the most famous saints in the Catholic Church, is our patron. That is why we celebrate our feast on October 4, his memorial day.”
According to him, the CYAA structure is station-parish-deanery-archdiocese.
“In keeping to our objective, we function on a tripod, spiritual, education and welfare. That was why we visited a less privileged home in Festac Town and donated some items to them.”
Chairman of the feast planning committee, Mr. Sixtus Okpara, expressed gratitude to God for a successful feast, pointing out that it took commitment and steadfastness to see the event actualised.
He noted that the feast was a reflection of unity, service to God and mankind.
“We used the feast to reflect on the life and times of our mentor, St. Francis of Assisi, who used his life to serve God and touch lives in the society,” he said.