ICYM – A Legacy of 60 Years in forming Leaders


By H R Alva – Mangalore

We cannot call it a diamond or set its value on a diamond stone unless it is properly shaped and polished.  When we sharpen a knife, its cutting power extends.  In human life, we need such sharpening and polishing talents and characters to become leaders.  Educational institutions, associations sharpen leadership qualities of students or members.  Only those who take advantage of these characteristics become strong leaders anywhere they go and make their life filled with happiness and they attract others as true leaders.

Greatness of CYM (ICYM):

There are several associations in the Diocese of Mangalore.  Lakhs of youth join these associations and thousands of youth became its office bearers and left these associations.  Hence, they still remember that they were the office bearers of certain association and lead several activities in their parishes.  However, there are very few who express in their life that they acquired leadership from such associations. 

Release of Amcho Yuvak on 4th September 1983 by the late Rev. Fr. A. Rosario, the then Vicar Forane of Shirva Deanary. (Seated HR Alva, Rev. Fr. Henry Castelino, the then Pricinpal of St. Mary’s College, Shirva, Oscar Fernandes, the then MP of Udupi, Rev.Fr. John A. Barbaoza, the then Director of ICYM and Marcel M. DSouza, the then Secretary of CYM-Central Council)

Catholic Youth Movement of Mangalore Diocese (CYM), now we added ‘Indian’ to this acronym and we call it ICYM ? not only its office bearers, even ordinary members of this association say that CYM has instilled the leadership qualities in their life.  They say that CYM gave them the opportunity, now they can stand in front of the crowd and freely say few things without any fear.  They say they learned a lot through CYM activities.  Even though, now we call this great association as ICYM, I am going to mention just CYM in this article.

In the Diocese of Mangalore, since 60 years, CYM has molded young and energetic youth into community leaders. On 1947 April 13, the then Bishop Victor R. Fernandes started this association by an official decree. Since then a few lakhs of youth walked through this association.  Those who were the charter members of this association may be they are in the age between 75 to 90 years old now.  Present members are in between 18 to 28 years old.  Today, all of them spread out across the globe are grateful to CYM for making them good leaders.

Recited prayer during the meeting, wrote minutes and read, conducted programs, sang songs and hymns, delivered speech, took part in elocution, singing, quiz, sports, organized several programs in the parish and participated. Took part in dramas, farces, camps, erected stalls for parish feast, decorated tents, carried bamboos, palm to decorate, cooked food, had lunches or dinners with large groups, took part in youth rallies, picnics, tours ? there are several activities to think of and cherish its memories with past CYM members.  Now we get everything ready made to use.  Olden days it was very difficult to have such programs without thought process and hard work.  Those who took part in CYM activities have lots of experience to cherish.  Currently everything is technologically improved and old CYM members experience is entirely different than of the current ones.

International Youth Year inauguartaion at the Diocesan level in 1985. HR Alva welcomes. Seated are Msgr. Alexander, the then Bishop Basil S. DSouza, Fr. Vincent Monteiro, Fr. Henry DSouza, the then Director of Canara Communications Centre and Marcel DSouza

Now I am going to talk about my own experience ? until tenth standard I was little hesitant, and never got involved in activities.  For the same reason I did not become an altar server or took part in N. C. C. or any other organizations.  Even though I was a bright student academically, I was far behind in other activities.  When I was studying I year P. U. C (1976), I joined CYM unit in Pangla Parish and I do not know from where I got the strength to become very active in this association.  CYM renewed my spirit and showed me to climb leadership ladder.  From the age of 16 to 30, I was involved in parish, varado and diocesan leadership.  Because of CYM, when I was active in the Central Council of the Diocese of Mangalore, I had the opportunity to visit France, Italy to represent this organization (Very few leaders of CYM had this opportunity to visit foreign land to represent Mangalore Diocese).

I still have those thankful moments in my mind.  Before me, in this organization there were Judith Mascarenhas (Senior politician in Mangalore), Austin Prabhu (Now in USA ? Past Governor of Lions International 1-A Dist, Mother Dist of Lionism ); those who worked with me ? Marcel D’Souza (State Bank of India), Augustin Rodrigues ( (Wholesale Pharmaceutical Distributor), Dayan D’Souza (Now in Dubai, founder-convenor of Daijidubai) and Ivan D’Souza (Our Star Politician in Mangalore), and those who worked recently – Anil Lobo (Mikes) and Roshan Madtha (Computer  Consultant) ?and there are thousands of leaders are well known to me.  I am not naming every one of them to avoid the length of this article.

International Youth Year celebrations at Shirva (1985). Lion L. Mendonca, Ex-Principal of St. Mary’s College, Shirva speaks. Seated are Ivan DSouza, the then President of Shirva Varado Youth Committee (present day political leader), HR Alva, Fr. A. Rosario, Shirtady William Pinto, Rev. Fr. Vaitus Prabhudas, OFM Cap, Rev. Fr, Heinancio D’Souza, the then Director of Holy Cross Students’ Home, Katapady.

From Founder Director Fr. Augustin D’Souza (the late), to the present Director Fr. Elias D’Souza, every director of CYM- diocesan Central Council have guided all youth to enrich their leadership potential.  Almost every parish priest in our Diocese directly as unit director or indirectly, has dealt with this organization, which is famous and known all over as CYM.  In my time Fr. John A. Barboza was the Central Council Director, who is now the principal of Shirva St. Mary’s College.  Fr. Barboza and Pangla unit director Fr. Gabriel B. D’Souza (the late) supported me a lot in my activities.  I cannot forget the support and enthusiasm they rendered to me.   I am sure that many old members still have such regards towards their directors too.

As everything else in this world, in CYM too there were misunderstandings, differences of opinion between directors and members, etc.  This created unhealthy environment in several parishes.  I still remember such sour moments and I will not deny such incidents happened here and there.

Many members used to get scolding from their parents saying that ? "Oorige upakaari manege maari" (Always ready to help others but not doing anything at home).  I remember that once two members from one particular unit left their house at 5:00 a.m. on bicycles to buy some beef for the lunch of their unit’s get-together and in this place there was no legal beef market.  Police came to raid this unauthorized place and these two innocent members were beaten by up police while arresting those beef sellers.  Many CYM members have undergone one or other bitter experiences for the cause of CYM.

CYM and Yuvak office inauguration ceremony at the Bishop’s House, Mangalore on 4th November 1984.. Ms Ita DSouza reads. Apart from HR, Marcel and Fr. John, Rev. Msgr. Alexander F. DSouza, the then Vicar General, Rev. Fr. Vincent Monteiro, the then Director of CYM, Augustin J. A. Rodrigues, the then Secretary,   the Late Baptist Jerald Martis (ex-President of CYM), and Edward Coelho, the then Treasurer.

When one volunteers by following motto "Leadership Through Service," it was natural that some fell in love with the opposite sex, as human weakness, some winked their eyes, exchanged few loving or shouting words, many liked each other after meeting in CYM activities, and many got married to keep up their friendship.  Many couples encouraged by CYM activities and kept their friendship close to their heart and there are several couples still live a good life as happy marriage. I found my soul mate Concepta Fernandes, in CYM, who was an active member of CYM Mudarangady unit.

To encourage CYM members’ writing talents CYM Central Council had started publishing its mouth organ ? ‘Bhavadthi Yuvak’, which changed its title as ‘Amcho Yuvak’.  Through this media many CYM members polished their writing skills and I vouch for this. 

Now ICYM turned Diamond:

There is a saying that we should change according to time.  Current era is witnessing technological and communication explosion. ? Nowadays we need to hang on to religious and communal harmony more than ever. To meet this demand, ICYM is organizing befitting activities.   Several programs established to support youth views and action during this Diamond Anniversary throughout the diocese.

Currently about ten thousand members in various parish units in Mangalore Diocese and lakhs of old members throughout the globe are the strength of ICYM.  With the co-operation of all the members and unit directors; ICYM’s active and energetic director Fr. Elias D’Souza with his progressive thoughts and acts has formed a Diamond Jubilee Celebrations Committee. Advocate and Political leader Ivan D’Souza is leading this committee as its Honorary Chairman and I am the honorary Vice Chairman.

HR Alva, as a representative of the Diocesan CYM craving blessings from the then Pope John Paul II at Vatican, Nov.29, 1988.

To get adjusted to the current situations and demand, several activities have been organized throughout the Diocese of Mangalore.  50% of these programs have been concluded and many more to go.  Through these activities, youth will be brought under one umbrella.  To renew their religious spirit, many programs like Varado procession of the Cross, etc., have been arranged. 

In commemoration of the Diamond Jubilee, a Diocesan Youth Training Center is planned to impart training in IAS, IPS and other bureaucratic competitive exams, computer and mass media. This project will cost ICYM about Rs. 40 lakhs.

Honour to the meritorious youth of the Diocese of Mangalore during the Youth Rally (1984). Seen apart from meritorious youth  and HR Alva, Fr. John A Barboza and Marcel DSouza seated are Ms. Judith Mascarenhas and Rev. Fr. Ronie Prabhu, SJ, the then Rector of the St. Joseph Seminary, Jeppu.

ICYM, Konkani Language and Lorna Show:

As Mangalorean Konkani Catholics we are all known worldwide by our mother tongue ? Konkani.  Amcho Yuvak monthly magazine of ICYM is earning more and more popularity.  A plan is set to publish some Konkani books during Diamond Celebrations.  To support Konkani language, culture and heritage and to get more people involved in these celebrations, ICYM Central Council has arranged Lorna Show on November 26, 2006 at St. Aloysius College Grounds.  Lorna is well known in India and in foreign land as one of the famous performers.    Last year her show was organized in Mangalore and many people had to go back home without getting tickets.  Now we Mangaloreans have an opportunity to see her live performance on stage. 

Annual Conference of CYM of the Diocese of Mangalore held at Shankerpura (1988). HR Alva speaks. Seated are Alwyn Patrao, the then President of CYM, Alban Rodrigues, the then Principal of St. Mary’s Junior College, Shirva and Fr. Vincent Monteiro.

2007 January ? Diamond Jubilee Celebrations:

January 12, 13 and 14, 2007 ICYM will have Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in Mangalore.    Here is the golden opportunity to all past CYM members to come together and renew old memories. There will be past members get together; recognition of past CYM Central Council presidents, get together of past members from foreign lands, seminars, power point presentations on leadership, etc. are the main activities during this celebration. 

Here is an opportunity ? for those found a platform for their leadership talents as youth, and for those who had an opportunity to act, sing, debate and work together as volunteers of CYM to come together and have some fun.  It is true that no matter where one past CYM member lives, he or she still remembers those good old moments.

I request all existing ICYM members to take active part in Lorna Show and in all the programs of the Jubilee. The celebrations organizing committee extends cordial welcome to all the CYM / ICYM members- past and present ? to be part of the celebrations in January 2007. The committee looks forward to financial support ?large or small – from the former members and wel-wishers.  This way past and present members can show their gratitude towards this organization  which helped to build their leadership qualities.

For more information, please contact: Fr. Elias D’Souza, Director ICYM, Shanti Kiran, Bajjodi, Mangalore ? 575 005, India.

Telephone: +91-824-2223897       Mobile: +98451 37605
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Author of this article: H. R. Alva, Proprietor of Maria Advertisers, Mangalore.
Former Editor, Yuvak (1979-80), General Secretary (1980-81) & President (1981-84) of CYM Central Council, Editor, Amcho Yuvak (1983-86)