India ‘unlikely’ to host Asian Youth Day in 2021

A church leader says it is doubtful the next Asian Youth Day will be held in India in 2021 as originally scheduled. 

The 8th Asian Youth Day (AYD) was initially set to take place in India in October 2021.

After the previous event was held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia in 2017, members of the Indian delegation received the AYD Cross from their Indonesian counterparts.

However, on Dec. 12 Father Chetan Machado, CBCI secretary for the Youth Council, announced there were currently no plans to hold the event in 2021.

“We need to wait for the Indian Bishops plenary meeting in February 2020 for the final decision on this,” said Father Machado.

The Indian bishops’ unwillingness to host the event likely stems from “political reasons” and “visa concerns,” said a source familiar with the matter who asked not to be named.

Organized by the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences Office of Laity and Family, Youth Desk and the host country, AYDs brings together young Catholics from across Asia.

First organized in Hua Hin, Thailand, in 1999, AYDs have been held in two, three and five year intervals.

Other AYDs have been held in Taipei, Taiwan (2001), Bangalore, India (2003), Hong Kong (2006), Imus, the Philippines (2009), and Daejeon, South Korea (2014).

Pope Francis attended the AYD event in South Korea.

The event is similar to the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day.

The week-long gathering allows young Asian Catholics to discuss their faith and how it applies to issues like social justice and youth leadership. 

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