A few months back while I was busy with a class, there was a call on my cellphone. It was my bishop. “Can you come over here?” – I was in the middle of the class. “The matter is this”, he continued, “here is a bishop visiting from another country and he has a lot of questions on Jesus Youth. And I said I will connect to the most suitable person.” So finally, I agreed to go to the bishop house in the evening. Later I had a long chat about the movement with this bishop. And it led to the most important question, ‘I want to have Jesus Youth in my diocese, how can it be done?’

I have been part of quite a few other organizations. When someone asks you to start a unit at their place, the answer is quite clear and often, there are a few simple steps to start the organization in that place. But in the case of Jesus Youth it is not so simple. For instance, when this bishop asked me to initiate the movement in his diocese, I immediately asked a few Jesus Youth from another city in the same country to get in touch with the bishop. I also asked the bishop to send some young people to be part of a Jesus Youth conference that was being organized in another part of the same country. In short, I was not immediately starting a group, but initiating some contacts, so that slowly some strong relationships would be built up. Somehow, starting Jesus Youth in an area is not directly starting its unit there, but building some contacts and slowly developing some people with a distinct vision and commitment.

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Dr Edward Edezhath, is one of the pioneering leaders and animators of the Jesus Youth movement. A senior lecturer in St. Albert’s College, Ernakulam, India, he lives with his wife is Audry in Cochin, India. They have three children, Ralph, Nicole and Aidan.