The time was mid 1990’s and this young doctor was a regular visitor to my place. Her weekly day off was on Tuesdays and we would meet to discuss her dreams. Prolife work was Dr. Sindhu’s passion and she had quite an ingenious approach to promoting this positive awareness. She would gather groups of youth, together with them prepare promotional materials and engage in various prolife campaigns. A well-made set of prolife exhibition materials she kept at my place, which youth from near and far would take to conduct awareness sessions. In brief, hers was a tactic of ‘learning by doing’ or a hands-on-approach to learning, and this creative method was helping many youth groups take up a strong stance for protecting life. Jesus Youth has always been prolife, but Dr. Sindhu’s initiatives ushered in a new focus and fervor in the movement’s mission to protect life.

The life and teachings of Pope John Paul II had immense influence on Jesus Youth movement. It was in 1978 that the first major effort to network young people in the Renewal movement started (which would eventually become Jesus Youth), and it was in the very same year that the saintly Pope commenced his papacy. No wonder the movement is deeply indebted to the vision and spirituality of this saintly pope, especially on its perception of the modern-day ‘culture of death’ and the possible solutions. Naturally, prolife concerns has been central to the various activities of the movement.

Prolife Dynamics in JY

“What are some of the distinguishing marks of JY?” I asked a group of teenagers. “JY families have a lot of children and many of them do home schooling”. This discussion was in the US and so homeschooling came up because that is a growing trend there. But large family is surely a Jesus Youth character in most parts of the world. Now, what are certain best practices that promote prolife attitudes in Jesus Youth movement?

. A commitment to know and live God’s will: Forming an active Christian conscience is central to Jesus Youth movement. This often starts with an encounter experience and continues through a variety of faith formation efforts. Two important thoughts should guide the life of an active Christian – firstly, asking ‘What is God’s will for my life?’ and secondly, the firm decision to say ‘I don’t want to do what is not pleasing to God’. Perhaps the foundation of prolife attitude in the movement is this continuous practical faith formation that goes on in the movement in its prayer groups, retreats and formation programs.

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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.