MANILA, July 8, 2013—Most of the pilgrims under the ECY-Philippines delegation to the 28th World Youth Day (WYD) gathering in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this year are first timers in joining the international gathering.
After the 2-day preparatory session last July 6-7, Samantha Louise Ramos, a high school student from Assumption Antipolo, said one of the reasons she is attending the gathering of young people is to see the new Pontiff, Pope Francis in person.
“As a first timer joining the World Youth Day, I’m thrilled to be part of the ECY-Philippines delegation but at the same time, I am nervous because I don’t know exactly what activities would take place, where to go, etc. So I’m nervous and excited for the event,” Ramos said.
Aside from meeting the Pope, Ramos added that she will attend a fruitful event which can help her become a good disciple and an instrument and a missionary to her fellow disciples in the Philippines.
When asked about her other interest in attending the international gathering, Ramos explained that she also wanted to have an over-all experience of sacrifice, surrendering herself to God and to have spiritual attainment.
“But even if I will be encountering sacrifices during the event, the exposure to various young people from all over the world will help me attain reverence in all spiritual activities that I will encounter,” Ramos said.
Michael Joy Alvero, also from Assumption Antipolo, shared she is inspired that she will be going to WYD 2013.
“I feel excited about the event and inspired that I’ll be joining the international event. Because I want to be more inspired and nourished. So that after the event, I can also inspire more,” Alvero said.
Aside from her sister who obliged her to join, a friend also influenced her to attend the international gathering saying how great the experience would be for her.
“Personally, I want to be enriched in my faith in God. I want to be an example of God’s love, experience His love more and then share His love afterwards to fellow young people,” Alvero added.
Expectations from self
Kabankalan diocesan youth director, Fr. Romel Ener, will be joining the event also for the first time, citing that he has no expectations on the event but from himself.
“The only expectation is from me that I’ll be able to give my all so that I can benefit the most and really encounter Jesus. I am open to anything that will happen and I know that the Lord has His hand on everything in the World Youth Day. I’m praying that I can give my all and my best so that I can encounter Jesus in the most meaningful way in the duration of the international event,” Fr. Ener said.
He believes he would be able to bring back with him the spirit of the WYD, the message of Pope Francis and the spirit of Jesus when he returns back to his diocese.
“I believe this is a celebration that we must have in the diocese. And joining WYD would be the most [meaningful] motivation to continue our work of evangelization not just to the youth but to all faithful in the diocese,” Ener added.
His participation to the international gathering was influenced by Bishop Patricio Buzon, SDB, which helped him realize that the celebration can be a good ground to deepen his love for the youth ministry.
He stressed the opportunity of this celebration to allow special gifts and special love for the young people to fully blossom.
“The celebration will allow me to expand some more and perhaps, really be able to shine w/ Christ for our young people in the diocese of Kabankalan. And for those young people who cannot be with us in the WYD Rio, the message of the international gathering is the same, Jesus is telling us to ‘Go and Make Disciples of all Nations’,” he said.
“So let’s keep it in word, keep the mandate alive in our heart. In your own special way, [allow to] see Jesus in you and allowing others to see Jesus having a face and body in you is to be a disciple of all nations,” Ener furthered. (Jandel Posion)