MANILA, July 29, 2011—Young Filipinos who cannot attend the World Youth Day (WYD) celebrations in Spain next month still has a “virtual” opportunity to participate in this global gathering of Catholic youth through the internet.
Thanks to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) for setting up an online portal, www.wydpinoy.com, where young Pinoys can read stories about real-time updates in the event, hear podcast interviews of pilgrims sharing their experiences, and watch videos or browse photos showing the Filipino delegation’s participation in the WYD.
The creation of www.wydpinoy.com is made possible through the efforts of the CBCP Media Office and Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY), having in mind those young Filipinos who don’t have the time and money to travel to and from Madrid and participate in the WYD celebrations from August 16 to 21.
ECY chairman and Legazpi Bishop Joel Baylon admitted that the distance of the WYD venue from the country is a major concern for Filipinos wanting to attend the WYD. Based on the ECY’s estimate, each WYD delegate from the Philippines need at least $1,800 or roughly P78,000 for a two-way ticket to Madrid. This estimate is exclusive of the registration expenses for the WYD and the Days in the Diocese, pegged at $500.
At present, around 400 Filipino pilgrims have passed the initial screening for delegates to the WYD, and are recognized as delegates under the official name “ECY-PHILIPPINES”, while some 1,200 others belong to other groups. Baylon said the number can still decrease based on the result of the pilgrim’s visa applications or their personal choice whether or not to pursue the trip because of monetary constraints.
But Baylon added that those who can’t make it to the WYD can still participate in the celebration through the www.wydpinoy.com.
“Every single young person is invited to participate in the WYD spiritually and in many ways that they can. With www.wydpinoy.com, there is a virtual opportunity that they can grab to practically and actually participate in the event,” he said.
The prelate also encouraged those who will attend the WYD to share their reflections, photos, and videos at www.wydpinoy.com or in other social networking sites to maximize the advantage of cyberspace in sharing information.
“Use the internet. Tell your friends back home what is happening at the WYD. It is your responsibility to share the good news of that event to other people who are not present physically in Spain,” he appealed to those who will attend the WYD.
Those youth without access to the internet can also rely on their dioceses, parishes and organizations for the localized celebration of WYD.
Baylon is urging youth ministers to set up occasions in the grassroots to create awareness of WYD and activities to mimic the global event on the level that is closer to the youth.
“This is where our youth ministry structures get into the picture. They can establish ways to increase awareness on the WYD, most especially starting from the first week of August until WYD culminates on August 21,” he said.
Baylon urged diocesan youth ministries and youth ministers to bring WYD observance to the grassroots level by, among others, teaching the young the WYD theme song and animation as well as produce modules that will emphasize the WYD’s theme “Stand firm in the faith… Do all your work in love.”
“I’m calling them to set up [structures,] opportunities, occasions, activities and programs that will help our young people appreciate WYD and participate in this event in their own ways,” he added.
The prelate also consoled those who cannot make it to Madrid because of monetary concerns, saying that the essence of WYD transcends [beyond] the physical celebration in Spain.
“WYD is not just an event that happens in Madrid. It is an event of and for young people all over the world and every single young person is invited to participate in it spiritually and in any way she/he can,” he said. (YouthPinoy)