By Kizito Umennadi Revd Fr
The Ekwulọbịa Diocesan Young Catholic Students (YCS-CADEK) held their maiden YCS Convention from Wednesday August 4th, 2021 – Saturday, August 7th, 2021 at St Charles Catholic Church, Achina.
In a Holy Mass celebrated to officially kickstart the event, the diocesan education secretary, Rev Fr Vitalis Azike who represented the diocesan bishop, Most Revd Peter Okpaleke at the ceremony charged the students to always improve on their academic, spiritual and psycho-social lives as doing so will greatly impact on their overall well-being in their lives, family, Church and the larger society.
He equally stressed for them, the importance of being focused and hardworking in other to maximize their potentials maintaining that the period of adolescence in which they are is critical in their making progress in life.
In his own remarks, the host parish priest and the regional coordinator for Achina Region, Rev Fr Ignatius Ezeakachaa welcomed the diocesan chaplain of YCS-CADEK, Revd Fr Walter Okafor together with the entire Diocesan Young Catholic Students who came for the three day event while stressing on the importance of their living a life of prayer, integrity, obedience, academic excellence and maturity of character.
The diocesan chaplain, Revd Fr Walter Okafor had earlier admonished the students on the mission and vision of organizing the Maiden Convention and on the need that they follow the drawn up time table of activities so that they will all reap the fruits of a well organized convention.
Delivering a lecture titled ‘YCS as a Moral in Immoral Political Challenge’, Fr Bartholomew Okeke called on the students to be a ‘beacon of hope and change’ not only at their respective schools but also at their various homes, local parish communities and the entire society noting that the future of the society lies in how equipped and ready they are to correct the mistakes of the present time.
He exhorted them to imbibe the culture of excellence, truth, justice and equality. He advised them on the advantages of fighting corruption, nepotism, high-handedness and being adjudged as morally upright. The time to imbibe these qualities according to Fr Okeke is now and seminars and workshops being provided for them at the current convention will be of help to them.
Delivering a lecture on the topic’ Crisis Among Adolescents: Fight Against Depression In Our Country Nigeria’, Rev Fr kizito Umennadi defined depression as’ a state of feeling sad,a psychoneurotic or psychotic disorder marked by inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, significant increase/decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection, hopelessness and suicidal tendencies.
He noted that teenage depression is difficult to know due to the fact that teens are good at ‘ masking’ it. This means that they can cover it up by appearing to be okay even when and where they are terribly miserable. He identified some factors as the causes of depression.
These include biological factors like lack of sleep, insufficient exercise, side effects of drug abuse, physical illness, improper diet, brain tumors, glandular disorders, monthly mensuration, post partum depression following childbirth, neuro-chemical malfunctioning, hereditary depression and brain chemistry.
Others are parental rejection, physical and sexual abuse, negative thinking, life stress like death of a parent, divorce, rupture of an intense relationship to a peer, unwanted pregnancy, abortion, or any event that lowers the teenagers self-esteem like expulsion from school and academic failure.
He emphasized that depression has negative effects on adolescents which can be physical, emotional and spiritual leading to aggressive behavior, being accident prone, deliquency, poor grades at school, withdrawal from people, shortened attention span, suicidal thoughts and behavior, gastro intestinal disturbances, rapid heart beat, dry mouth, strained look, apathy, loss of interest in personal hygiene among others.
In dealing with this depression which is evident among adolescents in Nigeria Fr kizito admonished them to avoid being alone, seek help from others who can generate joy, get involved in some physical exercises like work or sports.
He identified prayer as the most important aid in dealing with depression for God’s presence in our life is cause for hope and a means for deliverance (Psalm 42:5). While maintaining that any scriptural passage in the bible can be of help he referred them to some psalms (27,46,55,62,72,77,90,51,118,130,142,146 etc) as a prayer guide when depression sets in.
Other highlights of the three day convention included: Rosary Procession, Masses, Evaluation, Interactive Sessions, Workshop, Physical Exercises like jogging and sports, Social Night among others.
In an interview with Maranatha Multimedia, the chaplain of YCS-CADEK, Revd Fr Walter Okafor appreciated the students for their mature and dignified behavior during the three day event while promising to improve on gains recorded this year in up coming convention.
Master Jude Ezenwaka,a student representative from Msgr Martin Mmaduka Memorial Secondary School, Ekwulọbịa equally expressed joy in being at the convention and is certain that all he learnt at the convention will help him live a fulfilled life.