Paul delivers address  at the official opening of the centre
Paul delivers address at the official opening of the centre

Dominica's Catholic Youth Centre took 20 years from conception to the official opening ceremony of Phase I last week but according to Gabriel Malzaire, Bishop of Roseau: "Everything happens in God's own time-the right time".

Bishop Malzaire spoke at the Blessing Ceremony of Phase I of the Diocesan Youth Centre, located near the Botanic Gardens end of Independence Street, Roseau on March 7, 2019 facility the Bishop described as one of its kind in the Antilles.

"I don't think there is any other diocesan youth centre of that calibre (in the Antilles)," he said.

Phase I of that centre that Bishop Malzaire opened consists of the basic necessities: an office for the coordinator; a meeting room for small and medium sized groups; a prayer and counselling room; a kitchenette and washroom facilities. The cost of construction: $548,142.48. The funds came from the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George, United Kingdom ($295, 149.36); Pontifical Mission Society, Rome ($93,952.59); a group from Germany ($104,615.50); Food for the Poor, Florida ($16,119.10) and the Diocese of Roseau ($38,305.93).

Will there be a Phase II and III?

"It is anticipated that Phase II and III will include a large conference meeting hall and our dream is to complete a Phase III that will include a hostel and dormitory," said Mahalia Paul, the Diocesan Coordinator of the Youth Ministry.

The Catholic Youth Centre will be managed by the Youth Commission, a group appointed by Bishop Malzaire "to oversee his ministry… and implementation of the pastoral plan" said Paul adding that the Commission's goal is to "prepare Catholic youth for Christian life and mission by fostering a deeper sense of Catholic identity in an environment where talents and gifts are utilized for the development of self, church and community".

The centre will serve as a hub for resources and training for parish youth and young adult leaders and provide leadership training, retreats, day camp training, counseling, movie nights, games and individual, family and group counseling, among other functions. In short, it will provide a safe, value-based environment for young people around Dominica, said Paul.

"The constant pressure from secular society to abandon gospel values have placed our Dominican youth at the crossroads," said Paul. "They are struggling to find their place in the church and to identify with the church."