JARO, Iloilo, Nov. 8, 2011—The Jaro Parish Youth Ministry (JPYM) celebrated its 20th Anniversary last October 29 participated by the young people of JPYM, priests and parishioners, parish coordinators and lay leaders of different barangays.
Themed “JPYM@20: Hawak Kamay na Naglalakbay”, the celebration was preceded by 20-day festivities on top was the pilgrimage to different barangays of the Jaro Parish Youth Cross and the Icon of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria which began on October 8.
The pilgrimage signified that Youth Ministry is a journey and it was a concrete way of telling the people that Youth Ministry is essentially “incarnational”: Just as Jesus became man to be with His people, Youth Ministry likewise aims to reach out to the young people in the barangays to gather, form and draw them closer to Jesus.
The pilgrim Parish Youth Cross together with the Icon of Our Lady of Candles were transferred from one barangay to another in order to bring the love of Christ to the young and spread the devotion to the Blessed Mother through the praying of the Holy Rosary.
To the youth participants, the pilgrimage was a fruitful activity that one will never regret to have joined.
“It gives us knowledge of the love of God, devotion to our Blessed Mother through the Holy Rosary and helps us find new friends in different barangays. It also strengthens our faith in Jesus Christ. In this pilgrimage, you will see and experience that the youth enjoyed and felt blessed because they feel important in our parish,” Apollo Garcia of Barangay Tabuc Suba Ilaya said.
“It was an amazing activity in which young people gather to grow in their faith in Jesus Christ. Nami gid, and we hope to do it every year,” added Serd Neysel Troy Jalbuena of San Roque.
The Youth Cross pilgrimage ended in the afternoon of October 27 with a procession from Arguelles, the last Barangay visited by the pilgrim Cross, to Jaro Cathedral.
Young people joyously welcomed the Cross and the Icon of the Blessed Mother as they sang the song, “Jesus Christ, You are my Life” while waving their flaglets. The young pilgrims entered the Cathedral and prayed before the Cross thanking God for the immense graces received during the pilgrimage.
After rendering the action-song “Tell the World of His Love”, all the youth from different barangays gathered inside the La Isabelita Hall for the “Dialogue with Bishop Gerry”.
“Bishop Gerry” is Jaro Auxiliary Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, who is also the Parish Priest of Our Lady of Candles Cathedral Parish.
The young people had the chance to encounter and know better Bishop Alminaza who shared his life story and fielded questions from the youth.
Aiming to teach young people to properly care for their health, JPYM organized another activity on October 28, dubbed “Taebo for the Lord”.
Sem. Mark Hormigoso led a body prayer followed by Ms. Shane Espolong who gave a short talk about Taebo and its health benefits.
Jeffrey Tan led a one-hour session of Taebo followed by snacks to better prepare the youth for their next activity, a campaign to clean up Jaro Plaza.
The cleanup drive aimed to inculcate among the youth the care and concern for the environment. After the 30-minute activity, everyone went home with smiles on their faces having done something great for Mother Earth.
The 20-day celebration of JPYM anniversary culminated with a Parish Youth Day on October 29 with a foot parade participated in by most of the barangays and participants donned in JPYM shirts.
JPYM Director Fr. Nathaniel Gentizon explained to the youth the essence and meaning of the words in the JPYM Identity Statement so that they can own it and communally work towards its realization, further challenging them to become light for others.
A talent show called “JPYM Got Talent” was held in the afternoon with 24 contestants from different barangays participating.
Panel of judges include Sem. Christopher Villa, Ms. Sheila Morano and Rev. Fr. Ryan Teves.
Barangay Bakhaw was awarded the top prize. The second runner up went to Barangay Tabuc Suba, Ilaya and the third runner up to Barangay Benedicto. Other awards were also given: Most Disciplined and Most Numbered Participants – Brgy. Bakhaw; Most Attuned Barangay – San Roque; Most Creative Barangay – Tabuc Suba Proper; and Most Participative Barangay – Tabuc Suba Ilaya. The winners will join in the forthcoming JPYM Christmas Concert on December.
The day-long culminating festivities ended with a celebration of the Holy Eucharist at 5:30 p.m. and the Living Rosary.
In his homily, Fr. Gentizon highlighted the three (3) goals of Youth Ministry: first, to establish and strengthen the youth’s relationship with Christ; second, to provide opportunities for personal growth and; third, to encourage community involvement.
He exhorted the young people to always hold on to Jesus amidst the many challenges and trials of life.
Jesus assures us of His love and faithfulness, he said, “that no matter what happens, Jesus will always be there for us. We should not lose our grip of God’s saving hands.”
The anniversary celebration of the Jaro Parish Youth Ministry marked a new beginning for the parish youth ministry as it hopes to continually show its love and preference for the youth and the poor.
But the new springtime of Jaro Parish Youth Ministry could only be possible with God’s grace and with the cooperation and prayers of everyone. (Fr. Nathaniel Gentizon/Ma. Antotte Pasquin)