‘Dream and pursue your goals’: Bishop Lee tells Macau’s youngsters as Diocesan Youth Center seeks to be a beacon of holistic growth

Jasmin Yiu & Andrew Pereira

Even as the world celebrated the feast day of Blessed Carlo Acutis on October 12, the Diocesan Youth Commission in Macau chose the date to welcome youth of all faiths to its new Youth Center on Rua Formosa.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Bishop Stephen Lee Bun-sang said he had instructed that three floors of the new building of the Diocesan Center should be reserved for the Diocesan Youth Center, as well as the office of Youth Commission, in order for it to be a place to enhance the talents and creativity of the youth and, most importantly, to provide a space exclusive to the youth in Macau, whatever religious background they came from.

The theme of the new Diocesan Youth Center is “Come and See,” which is also its message to the youth of Macau.

“The Youth Center hopes to be a place for youth to grow and to accompany each other. There are three important points: companionship, an expanding vision of faith and action. The opening ceremony is just the beginning. In the future, the diocese will like to keep track of the development of Macau’s youth and make them aware that they are loved and cared for,” Bishop Lee said.

“The Youth Center has a core and main theme: ‘Come and See,’ just as Jesus said to the disciples ‘Come and see’ (John 1:39-41). We welcome all youth from all religious backgrounds to come to the Youth Center to really come and see and proceed to the next goal, that is, to create and to build up  the Diocesan Youth Center, to dream and to pursue their goals,” he added.

In his address, Bosco Wong, director of the office of the Diocesan Youth Commission, said, “After the breakout of the pandemic, the original opening needed to be postponed from August 15 to October 12. Initially it was quite disheartening, but we learned to look at things with a hopeful view. Today is the feast day of Blessed Carlos Acutis, who is one of the patron saints of the Youth Commission.”

The theme of the new Diocesan Youth Center is “Come and See,” which is also its message to the youth of Macau. The creation of the mural was organized jointly by the Diocesan Youth Commission and Zero Distance Cooperative.

“A special thanks to Bishop Lee, who has been a great support to youth. He always encourages us to to achieve goals, which is a huge support to us,” Wong added.

Earlier on, to create awareness regarding this meeting point for youth and to develop a sense of identifying with the Diocesan Youth Center, the Diocesan Youth Commission invited more than 100 young people to participate in the mural painting initiative called “Come and See: The Dream of Co-creating and Co-building through Murals.” Through this initiative, the youth were asked to create a mural for the outer wall of the Diocesan Youth Center.

The creation of the mural was organized jointly by the Diocesan Youth Commission and a local organization Zero Distance Cooperative. Zero Distance Cooperative has had extensive experience in creating murals in the community and adhering to the goal of “co-creation and co-construction” with young people, allowing the ideas of young people to materialize.

Speaking to O Clarim earlier, Wong said that the Youth Center’s theme was decided upon after consulting with the members of the Youth Commission and the office members. The mural was meant to be a means of attracting young people and representative of the theme “Come and See.” Of the various elements in the mural, the most prominent is a boat which signifies the history of missionaries coming to Macau and the dreams of young people.

Debbie Tai Pek Kuan, an instructor from Zero Distance Cooperative, had said earlier that even though young people were going through hard times during the pandemic, the participation of the youth in the mural painting was actually a sign of hope. The mural was a collective creation which encouraged the youngsters to respect each other and work in harmony. Even those who had no experience in drawing or painting were motivated to step outside their comfort zone and explore new territory.

“A young person admitted that he did not know how to draw and had no talent or experience in drawing. But he was very happy after he sketched a small banana leaf, and he realized that he had potential for growth. My role is only that of a companion where I facilitate young people to discover their own potential,” Debbie Tai told O Clarim.