Catholic student leaders gather in faith, leadership conference

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MANILA, July 21, 2013—Student leaders from various parts of the metro gathered this weekend for a 3-day leadership convention that centers on emphasizing the impact and role of faith to the life of young Filipinos as future leaders of the nation.

Member schools of the Student Catholic Action of the Philippines (SCA) National Capital Region (NCR) cluster converged for the 3rd SCA NCR Cluster Leadership Conference held at the College of the Holy Spirit Manila from July 19 to 21. 20130720_085241 web

Bearing the theme “With Faith We Are Changed,” this year’s convention aims to make student participants more faithful to the church and to possess a better understanding of faith as applied in the context of the present generation.

With the aim of empowering participants to become renewed individuals in Christ, student leaders participated in various team building activities, workshops, and spiritual sessions where they reflected, discussed, and shared how faith impacts their personal lives.

SCAP Executive Director Sonia Roco gave the plenary talk titled “Give Faith a Chance,” focusing on the importance of faith as a living connection between the people and the Divine.

Roco also discussed the importance of intertwining leadership with faith for the attainment of an efficient and harmonious working relationship among groups that leads to progress.

Parallel sessions on faith and its interrelation with other fields such as technology, culture, politics, education, economy, arts, social sciences, and sexuality among others were also held.

Other activities in the 3-day conference include sharing and formation activities, Taize sessions, masses, and the organization’s parliamentary procedure and business meeting.

Faith in action 

According to Samantha Sevilla, chairperson of the SCA Manila Council, the purpose of holding the annual leadership conference is to emphasize the importance of faith not just as a spiritual entity to be proclaimed, but as a religious act meant to be applied in one’s day-to-day living.

“This conference is meant to emphasize the power of faith to lead people toward conversion. We would like to show that faith has to be manifested in every action we do,” she said, noting that for holistic spiritual growth to be achieved, people must focus not only on faith, but to its interrelation with other aspects of human life as a whole.

“We should always aspire to change for the better and stand by the dispositions held dearly by the Catholic Church,” she added.

Through this annual get together, the bond of SCA NCR cluster members gets strengthened because of the unity they enjoy despite differences in their background, Sevilla said.

She further added that the activity also gives the youth ample opportunity to improve their leadership skills as most of their activities are primarily conceptualized and spearheaded by the young leaders of SCA from all over the metro.

Deepening one’s faith 

Literature student Maper Anne Manalili, 19, said that the leadership conference has greatly strengthened the faith of the youth as Catholic individuals.

She added that through the gathering, she realized the faith can be effectively expressed and manifested even just through simple ways.

“We have a lot of different ways to express the faith we possess. An example of this is influencing others through religion. This includes inviting friends to attend Eucharistic celebrations, praying as a group, or even through the simple act of giving thanks before a meal,” she said.

Manalili added that efforts to strengthen the youth remain vital for they remain as the future hope of the nation.

“There is still hope to settle the various crises happening in our world today. If only the youth would be more attached with God, all of our earthly struggles may easily vanish,” she added.

High school junior Jessica Escalera, 15, said that aside from deepening one’s faith, the conference also broadens one’s knowledge about devotion, thereby strengthening one’s confidence to surpass earthly struggles along the way.

She added that through the conference, participants acquire a wider grasp of the various issues faced by the youth in their respective communities.

“We get to acquire a sense of belonging in this conference where we participate not as individuals, but as a group meant to open up and share our relevant experiences to others, all in high hopes that others may learn and acquire wisdom from what others have gone through,” she said.

Participants all over the metro 

A total of 124 individuals participated in this year’s leadership conference. Among the schools that joined were Philippine Normal University, De La Salle University, College of the Holy Spirit Manila, University of the East, San Beda College, Centro Escolar University, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, Global Innovative College, and University of the Philippines – Diliman.

Delegates from T. Paez High School, Jose P. Laurel High School, Osmeña High School, Claret School of Quezon City, San Jose Academy, Colegio de Sta. Ana, Pasig Catholic College, Las Piñas High School, and Novaliches College also joined the three-day conference.

Last year’s SCA NCR Cluster Leadership focused on stressing the organization’s seven Cs of leadership—Credibility, Commitment, Christ-centeredness, Community-orientation, Competence, Creativity and Character)—to the life of its members.  (Jennifer M. Orillaza)

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