Issues concerning the revival of the Young Christian Students’ Movement, (YCSM)/ Catholic Students’ Union (CATHSU) as well as a Youth Policy Implementation Plan for the Church in Ghana have taken centre stage at an ongoing Catholic Youth Chaplains and Full Timers’ meeting in the Goaso Diocese.
The meeting which started on Thursday, March 2 at the Pastoral Centre in the Goaso Diocese, is expected to end on Saturday, March 4, 2023.
The meeting is coming at a time Bishops in Ghana are expressing concern about the “dwindling number of Catholics” in the West African nation.
In their message ahead of Christmas 2022, members of the Ghana Conference of Catholic Bishops (GCBC) described the situation as “alarming” and attributed it to “many external and internal factors”.
Although the 2021 Population and Housing Census (2021 PHC) in Ghana shows an increase in the Christian population, the number of Catholics in the country is dwindling.
Over the past decades, the Bishops say, the population of Catholics in Ghana has been on a downward trajectory, “from 15.1% in the 2000 census, to 13.1% in the 2010 census and further declined to 10% in the 2021 census.”
“This indeed is a disturbing trend for our Church. The statistics reveal that if the trend of decline continues at the present rate of 3.1% per decade, we may end up losing ground totally by the year 2060,” a statement by the Bishops said.
The Young Christian Students’ Movement (YCSM) is an international organization of young people who seek to live out their Christian faith through action and advocacy. It was founded in Belgium in 1919 and has since grown to become a global movement with branches all over the world.
The YCS is rooted in the principles of Catholic social teachings and seeks to promote social justice and the dignity of every person. It encourages young people to become agents of change in their communities and to work towards a more just and equitable society.
The Catholic Students’ Union, (CATHSU) known by many as CASU, on the other hand, is a student organisation that aims to support and strengthen the faith of Catholic students in universities and colleges.
The organization provides opportunities for students to deepen their spirituality, develop leadership skills, and build community with other Catholic students.
These groups used to be active platforms for young Catholics to deepen their spirituality. The same, however, cannot be said about them in present times. Many say the near collapse of these youth movements has contributed to the dwindling number of Catholics with an emphasis on the youth in Ghana.
Others argue that poor pro-youth policy or its implementation is equally contributing to the menace.
The Catholic Youth Chaplains and Full Timers, at the end of their meeting, will be hoping to contribute meaningfully towards the revival of CATHSU/YCS as well as figure out how to implement youth-focused policies in the Church.
Catholic Trends is following this meeting keenly and will be back with updates.