|Wonderful CYO memories... - Jun 3|
|2012 - Letters to the Editor|
|Saturday, 02 June 2012 23:12|
Page 1 of 8
DEAR EDITOR: There was a wonderful article of appreciation for the CYO in last Sunday’s Guardian (27.05.12), written by David Cuffy. I was happy to see something like it finally in print. The CYO in my estimation is an institution whose revival would do a great deal to sustain and support Catholic life among young people in the Church today.
Mr Cuffy outlined in a wonderful summary the merits of the institution, and the benefits he and other Catholic youth derived from their participation.
“We were exposed,” he writes, “to the teachings of our faith and encouraged to put its virtues into practice in every area of our lives. Whether it was playing table tennis and billiards indoors; cricket and football in the Queen’s Park Savannah; taking dancing and judo lessons and rehearsing for our drama productions in the Hall; attending Holy Name Sodality meetings at Rosary Church on Park Street on Tuesday nights, Days of Recollection and weekend Retreats at Mount St Benedict and other Parishes; camping out at Mayaro and other beaches; hosting parties in our Birthday Club; visiting other CYO branches; or just hanging out with each other. Fr Keating helped us to establish a library that encouraged us to develop a love for reading and discussing what we read. It was drilled into us boys that we must always show respect to and consideration for the female members, and it was our duty to ensure they were all were taken home safely after any activity. The interactive nature of our association did not permit us to see race or class differences among us. In short, though we may have been unaware, we were learning one of life’s greatest lessons—how to love and respect all our fellowmen. Today, in the bi-annual (biennial) reunions we have begun hosting for former CYO members, the pure joy we experience from being together again, even for short periods, merely underscores the depth of the foundations for life laid so many years ago by our beloved organisation.”
One has only to think of the many programmes that have been tried out on young people in the Church in the past two decades, for example, to see the enormous contrast in terms of lasting effects. Today also we continue to have packed confirmation ceremonies everywhere. A few weeks later, if so long sometimes, just a handful of those confirmed return to regular attendance at Sunday Mass or indeed any form of parish activity. It’s like pouring water into a leaky bucket, hoping that if we pour long and hard enough it will eventually get filled.
The significant merit of the CYO in my view was the strength and durability of its structure. It could be adapted and used in any parish, urban area, country, or in between. It had no “flavour of the month” character. It was eminently reliable in promoting goals and fostering aspirations, as Mr Cuffy so admirably said. “Bring back the old time religion” is not an attitude or policy one should uncritically endorse. In this case, however, all one feels inclined to say is, what’s taking us so long?
Fr Henry Charles, St Mary’s, Mucurapo