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Asian Youth Called to Be Missionaries of Hope
HONG KONG, SEPT. 8, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The 4th Asian Youth Day urged the young participants to be missionaries of hope in their continent.

"Youth are not only the future of the world, but are the present precious treasures of the Church," said the final declaration, read by nine representatives at the close of the event.

The result has been the confirmation and awareness of the family as "sanctuary of life."

The Diocese of Hong Kong hosted the event July 30-Aug. 5, organized by the Asian bishops' conferences. Some 800 young people attended from around Asia. Special guests attended from Europe and Africa.

The event offered moments of reflection, prayer and occasions to exchange experiences with delegates of other creeds.

The final declaration said that in Asian families "children are cherished as gifts from God." It also mentions the difficulties it faces, such as poverty, migration and political instability.

"Yet we believe that the source of our strength continues to be the family," the declaration said, because "families hold a very important place in Asian cultures."

The declaration continued: "Family values like filial respect, love and care of the aged, the weak, love for children and harmony are held in high esteem in all Asian cultures and religious traditions."

Marriage

The reflections also led to the conclusion that "marriage is a lifelong commitment and the family is a sacred institution in which God is involved."

By strengthening the family, "the common good is promoted and enhanced," the document stated. "Asian families are called to give testimony of the Good News of Jesus in times of difficulty."

The statement urged young people in particular "to rediscover their place and role in the family and society."

The declaration recommended that the local Churches support young people in their journey of faith and prayer life, and to become the echo of the Youth Day in Hong Kong through programs focused on the theme "Youth, Hope of Asian Families," the meeting's motto.

"We believe that there are seeds of faith in Asian youth. If this faith is nurtured well, they can truly be the hope of the Asian family," the document said.

"The youth present here return fired with zeal and determination to take up the challenge of becoming 'hope givers,'" the text concluded.

Asia is home to 60% of the world's youth.