The Young Catholic Students of Nigeria (YCSN), Catholic Diocese of Makurdi, held her annual convention at St Dominick’s High School, Tse-Ayu, Makurdi from Friday 4th to Monday 7th August, 2023. About 3:00pm, students were seen reporting for the convention. Mr Ako and the Principal of the school, Revd Fr Philip Apuu gladly welcomed us. On the evening of arrival, there was Rosary procession and Bible quiz among the YCSN Areas in Makurdi Diocese: Agan, Aliade, High Level, Iorhom, Makurdi and Udei Areas. Aliade Area was the winner of the competition.
On the second day, 5th August, Holy Mass was presided over by Revd Frs Ekele Samuel, VC; Enemari Samuel, VC; Charles Obidi, VC and Bartholomew Shokua. In his homily, Fr Charles Obidi, VC of Udei Area charged us to be good representatives of the Catholic faith in our various schools and Areas.
Very Revd Fr Moses Iorapuu, the Vicar General Pastoral of Makurdi Diocese also joined in the opening ceremony. He admonished the students to keep on with the good work of being members of the movement (YCSN). He also shared with us stories of his as a young boy who had so much love for Christ and was also a member of YCSN, and the first members of Catholic Youth Organisation of Nigeria (CYON) in the Diocese. The Vicar General pledged his support to the movement. Vote of thanks to the Vicar General Pastoral was given by the Diocesan Chaplain of YCSN, Revd Fr Patrick Tor Yugh.
The first paper was presented by Fr Bartholomew Shokua on the topic: *“Come Now Let Us Reason Together (Isiah 1:18).”* It was presented with _Charity and Youth Development: Challenges and Prospect_ in view. Fr Shokua highlighted some of the factors hindering most youths from being charitable and good Christians as: sport betting, social media, illiteracy, poverty and unemployment. He considered organising seminars and teaching the Catholic faith as the way forward.
The second talk was presented by Mr Micheal Shenge, a former Diocesan President on *“The Challenges of Youths in Nigeria.”* He charged all of us never to be carried away by the challenges of life, and avoid indulging in evil and vices just to make money. He also gave examples of faithful men in the Bible that God blessed with riches for their perseverance and virtues. He identified meekness, competence, credibility, knowledge, favour, relationship and the fear of God as capitals or currencies to greatness.
Nevertheless, Dr. Andrew Amina, a former Provincial President of the YCSN, gave his advice, cautioning us to tread the path of goodness. Hence it is the way to greatness and bright future.
On the third day, Sunday 6th August, workshop was done on the topics from the paper presentations; while debate was done across Areas with two Seminarians: Aondo Israel, VC and Ogidi Moses, VC as judges. Agan Area came first in the competition. Lectures were done by all Areas on the topic: *“Exultet: When it is Used in the Church”.* It was anchored by Joseph Ayangaor.
In the evening, members participated in sports, and there was variety night. The variety night featured Mr and Miss YCS contest, dance presentation and lots more.
Fourth day, Monday 7th August, was the last and departure day. Holy Mass was presided over by the Catholic Bishop of Makurdi Diocese, Most Revd Wilfred Chikpa Anagbe, CMF. The Chief Shepherd who centered his homily on Turning to God in the times of need, exhorted that, like Moses turned to God when the people of Israel cried in the wilderness so also we should always call on God in our difficult moments. He encouraged the Young Catholic Students to believe in and practice good works. As the motto of the movement implies: “See, Judge and Act”, we should always judge and weigh reality with what we see before we can act. In his words, “Dear Young Catholic Students of Nigeria (YCSN), you are the future of the Church and of the world. SEE with no bias, JUDGE in truth and ACT as you should and as Christ would expect you to.”
He called on us to guide against rushing after and reacting to posts on social media platforms without checking the credibility of such posts; avoid the habit of only having interest in making criticisms but less interested in celebrating victories with good people. The Bishop appreciated the principal of St Dominick’s High School, Tse-Ayu, for his efforts in ensuring a conducive learning environment for the students. He also appreciated the YCS Diocesan Chaplain for his good work of directing us. He further appreciated the Diocesan team for their relentless efforts in the spread of the Gospel values through YCSN activities. He applauded the JSS 1 students who were also at the convention and encouraged them to continue with the spirit. I cannot forget to include that it was so thrilling to hear Bishop Anagbe leading in the singing of the YCSN anthem. We shall live to remember this.
The Diocesan Chaplain, Revd Fr Patrick Tor Yugh appreciated all those who were present at the convention. In his remarks, also, he educated us on moral issues. He proffered wholesome activities like prayer, singing Christian songs, reading, writing, going out for sports as best ways of controlling the challenges that come with adolescence.
The Diocesan President, Miss Roseline Idoko expressed her profound gratitude to God almighty for the success of the convention. Also, she thanked the Bishop, Chaplain, Principal, paper presenters and all those who worked immensely to help us have a successful convention.
*RESOLUTIONS FROM THE 2023 DIOCESAN CONVENTION*
The convention was held and attended with a total number of 151 members across the six (6) Areas of the Diocese.
We have the following resolutions:
1. That all sections should expect YCS Mathematics and Science Competition. And also expect workshop and talent creative hunt.
2.That Areas hosting Diocesan functions shall provide venue, feeding and arrival meal for conventions and retreats.
3. That henceforth, no one shall occupy an Area position and at the same time a Diocesan post.
4. That members of YCSN must strive always to be decent in words and deeds.
5. That defending the faith and safeguarding the Catholic heritage is not the work of the ordained ministers alone but that of the YCSN who are the future Church and all the laity as well.
5. Members are encouraged to attend the forthcoming Provincial convention slated for 15th to 18th August, 2023 in Gboko and the national convention from 22nd to 26th August, 2023 in Warri.
YCS, See, Judge and Act.
*Moses Shater Samari*
Secretary, YCSN, Makurdi Diocese.