Launching of YLDC & Weekend “Call for the Laity”
On Saturday and Sunday noon (25 and 26 March) Fondacio Malaysia conducted a one-and-half day Weekend program entitled “Call for the Laity”. It was attended by about twenty-five participants. The objectives had been to invite Church lay leaders and potential YLDC volunteers to take a time to listen to the Lord regarding their vocation and the fruitfulness of what they are doing and living with realities in the world and those of the Church.
Archbishop Julian also dropped by and visited the participants on Saturday lunch time. Those who came for this weekend program felt enriched and motivated to offer their services or to continue with their ministries in the parish they belong and to YLDC as volunteers and teachers.
After the prior preparation through the Weekend program, a total of nearly 60 persons were present which included donors and potential YLDC students who attended the YLDC launch.
So, on Saturday afternoon, 26th March 2017 in the parish of St John’s Cathedral, Kuala Lumpur YLDC, stands for Youth Leadership and Development Center was launched.
This centre is catered to displaced youths and those forgotten by the society. Besides migrants and refugees, it is also for our local marginalized youth. This project started by Fondacio Malaysia is a tri-party project that is unique because it is a first initiative between a lay movement, a parish and an Archdiocesan Office as a collaborative action. Fondacio focuses its call to the poor as “Empowering the Migrants, Refugees and Marginalized Youth” and that which pushes us to put this reality into action.
With the reading of the signs of time like the growing regional conflicts, and the opening of ASEAN, an upsurge in migrants and refugees expected across Asia and the world, this project indeed is meeting these needs. With much consultation and discernment Fondacio Malaysia together with Fr Bernard, director of AOHD began working since 2016 on this collaborative action. On a parallel basis Monsignor Leonard Lexson of St John’s Cathedral parish with much the same calling to answer to the needs of the homeless and marginalized people especially regarding constant happenings in and around his parish also requested the assistance and collaboration of Fondacio Malaysia to establish a language and life skills center towards this need.
YLDC in Malaysia is Fondacio’s fourth development centre for the marginalized people in Asia. Our first few centres were started in the Philippines in 2015, then Myanmar and Laos in 2016 respectively. It is modelled as a centre to give hope to the urban poor and to the marginalized and whatever relevant service that are needed.
Monsignor Leonard and Fr Bernard the collaborators/partners for the YLDC project gave their addresses at the start of the ceremony. Through both their addresses to the congregation present, much sense of encouragement and hope were received and indeed all saw how YLDC’s presence is a timely for those who are seeking help in livelihood and language skills in the city centre.
Through the words of Annie, Fondacio Malaysia’s coordinator, thanking the Lord and all those present with further imploring Him with this passage from the Gospel of Matthew 9: 37-38 “The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers to his harvest.”
On a further note, beginning 2018, Fondacio Asia through the Institute of Formation Fondacio Asia (IFFA) based in Manila, Philippines, an institute that train leaders from Asian Churches, will include a formation track in their curriculum “The Migrant Ministry”. Working always in partnership with the local Church, IFFA is devolving part of their formation modules to local Churches and alumni network. This is in view of establishing regional centers that can offer life-skills and basic leadership programs locally. This will benefit a larger number of young people, and those wishing for further formation to be better skilled and equipped.