Catholic youth gathering in Stična celebrates 40th anniversary

Stična – Youth Stična, a gathering of Catholic youths, is under way today, focussing on the issue of fear and insecurity among the young. Marking the 40th anniversary, the event was addressed by President Borut Pahor and Alojzij Cvikl, the archbishop of Marbor. Pahor urged the youth to strive for dialogue, tolerance and respect.

The president said the youth gathered in Stična today was “our future and that gives me great optimism and hope”.

Acknowledging the uncertainty ahead, he said the future would depend on whether “you will listen to each other and hear each other, whether you will be tolerant or not, whether you will respect each other or not”.

He urged them to do all those things, because people have different views, because dialogue is needed to find common ground and because people are different but must live together. “This is the foundation of harmony,” he said.

Marking the 40th anniversary of the gathering, Pahor handed a thank-you note to the organisers for their long-term mission of spreading and promoting the values of volunteering, cooperation, humanness and solidarity among the young.

Matevž Mehlet from the Catholic Youth, which organises the event, said fear and insecurity were spreading among the young, partly due to the epidemic and partly because they are afraid religion will be a setback in their life.

The festival is to let them now they are not alone, he said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Last year, the festival was held in 27 venues around the country due to the epidemic, but this year the programme consisting of workshops, sports tournaments and a mass, which will end with an evening concert, returned to Stična. To minimise the risk of infection, the main venue was moved from the Cistercian Monastery to its lawn.

Participants must meet the recovered-tested-vaccinated rule and rapid testing as well as vaccination is available on site for those over 12 years old.

This year, the organisers expect 2,000-3,000 participants because of the epidemic, while in the past the event attracted around 5,000 people.