A group of youth from the Aldona Parish came together to form ‘The Catholic Youth of Aldona’ in December 1973 and they sowed the seeds for the parish youth movement over the next five decades.
The Aldona Parish Youth (APY) marked its golden jubilee with a special spiritual and cultural celebration on January 28, 2024.
The celebration began with the Thanksgiving Eucharist at the St Thomas Church in Aldona. The theme chosen for the Eucharistic celebration was, “Bhangara Utsova Pasot Devak Dhin’vasnni, Tornnattim ami Choltanv Somiachea Panvlamni.” Fr Simião Fernandes, Director of the Pastoral Institute, Old Goa, and a former youth animator of the APY was the main celebrant.
The other concelebrants were Aldona Parish Priest Fr Tomas Lobo, Fr Walter de Sa (Parish Priest at Panaji), Fr Francisco Xavier Fernandes (Parish Priest at Nachinola), Fr Pio Almeida (Parish Priest at Caranzalem), Fr Caitan D’Souza (Chaplain of Carona), Fr Noel Menezes (Pilar Father based at Carona-Aldona), Fr Agnel Simoes (Assistant Parish Priest at Aldona) and Fr Michael Fernandes (Assistant Parish Priest at Curtorim). The APY choir led by Christjoy Fernandes led the congregation in the singing.
After Mass, a cake was cut by the priests in the presence of the congregation.
A cultural programme was later presented by the APY with the support and guidance of the Youth Animator Fr Agnel Simoes. Director of the Diocesan Youth Centre Fr Blaise Lobo was the chief guest at the function.
The cultural programme began with a prayer dance, followed by a welcome address by Aldona Parish Priest Fr Tomas Lobo. The guests then unveiled the Parish Youth T-Shirt and released a Souvenir to mark the occasion.
Fr Blaise Lobo then addressed the gathering and commended the youth for their dedication and support to the Church.
The theme song “Amchim Tornnattim” written by Baltazar Pontes and presented by APY singers and musicians narrated the journey of the parish youth movement.
Austin Lobo, a youth from Aldona, then launched Goa’s first 360-degree virtual mapping of the St Thomas Church, Aldona, which would benefit Aldonkars away from home and tourists interested to know more about the Aldona Church.
This was followed by a jive dance and a Konkani skit by the youth of Aldona.
Antonio Francisco Fernandes then delivered a keynote address narrating the detailed journey of ‘The Catholic Youth of Aldona’ they had formed in December 1973, which was subsequently reorganised as the ‘Aldona Parish Youth’ 20 years later.
The parish youth then presented a fashion show covering the different decades of global fashion and this was followed by a message by the Aldona Parish Youth Animator Fr Agnelo Simoes.
A Mando specially composed by Fr Tomas Lobo was presented by the parish youth, followed by the vote of thanks by APY President Fiona Fernandes.
The cultural programme ended with a flash mob and live music by the Aldona Parish Youth band.
The event included food and games stalls, a photo gallery of APY youth and their activities over the years, a photo booth and a fingerprint tree canvas where youth came and put their coloured finger impressions.
Aldona MLA Carlos Alvares Ferreira was also present as a special guest at the event.
A number of former youth members of the APY were present for the celebration and they recalled fond memories of their association with the youth group.