A youth carnival in Nigeria

A youth carnival was created in 2021 by the bishop of the diocese with the aim of awakening in young people the spirit of commitment to serving one another and intensifying their knowledge of the traditions and doctrine of the Church. The youth carnival took place from 26 to 28 December 2023.
During these days, the diocesan bishop, John Akin Oyejola, visited each of the eight deaneries to celebrate Mass and interact with the young people.  In the deanery of Osogbo, young people gathered on 26 December at the Collège catholique Saint-Gabriel. Priests, religious and other leaders were present. The theme of the carnival was “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour” (Lk 1: 46-47). The primary aim of this exercise was to share the joy of Christmas with others through reflections, words, wishes and prayers. In this way, they were taught to keep in mind the reasons to rejoice in the birth of Christ and to see the need to extend this joy to others: the elderly, the sick, children, adults and their loved ones.

As diocesan youth coordinator, I spoke to young people about their notions of marriage and other vocations.  In a world full of chaos, it’s wise to pay more attention to how each person lives their life, to understand how their life can affect others, positively or negatively. It was also emphasised that young people need someone to listen to them and answer the questions that will help them in their relationship to move successfully from the stage of their youth to another stage of life. The young people prayed for the spirit of goodness and peace of Christ to reign in the world.
The carnival included other social activities, such as sports, indoor and outdoor games, Christmas carols composed by the young people themselves, cultural competitions and a talent show, where one youngster was able to name countries, artists and musicians in alphabetical order. They then performed a burning ritual. A presentation on health also made them aware of the habits they should adopt to guard against risks and dangers. A Bible quiz competition was also organised around certain events in the four Gospels, Church history and doctrine.

The Daughters of the Holy Spirit played an active role in coordinating the event. This annual exercise proved essential for the young people, as it enabled them to avoid getting involved in unnecessary groups or clubs during the festive season. It is an opportunity to help them rediscover many social and spiritual benefits that will enable them to better serve society and the Church. The young people have also found in this programme a means of shaping their relationship with God and humanity, as they themselves have expressed it.

By Sister Chibuzor Adaku Onyeananam, DHS
Osogbo Diocesan Youth Coordinator
Published on 3 January 2024,