More than one thousand youths from the Catholic Church archdiocese of Honiara attended a week long program at Tamboko saint Mary Tanagai Parish North west Guadalcanal.

The program commenced on Monday. The youths at the gathering come from three different parishes of the Archdiocese of Honiara. They are Holy family Kukum Parish, Holy Cross Parish and Saint Mary Tanagai Parish.

According to Father Godfrey Paa’si, a program organiser, the program started last year and will be held annually. He says each year there will be a different theme. This year’s theme was selected by the Head of the Catholic Church based in Rome, Pope Francis.

"The theme is STAY AWAKE’ the world teaches us to live subconsciously, but Jesus teaches us to live consciously, the theme reflects the many challenges that young people face today”, Fr Paa’si said.

He says the program is a good one for the youths since the event is not only on a Spiritual aspect but also in Social, and Physical.

"We do morning service and talks in the morning and after we have sports including soccer and volleyball for both boys and girls. Social activities include showcasing of the different cultures. In the evening we have cultural activities. This is where different groups showcase their culture”.

Fr Paa’si says they do talks on the reality of life and issues affecting young people. He says this is to make them aware of the situation they are faced with today and how their faith can help them make decisions which will be good for them in their future life.

A youth, Kaia from Kukum Parish says he has really enjoyed the program. He says he learnt a lot of new things from the program and he says he believes he can teach others what he learnt from the program.

In the Solomon Islands, youth make up a significant and growing part of the population. 7 out of 10 Solomon Islanders are under 30 years old.