MANILA, April 25, 2013—The art of listening is essential for one’s faith to deepen and grow, a bishop told thousands of young people gathered for a pilgrimage last April 18-20.
“Faith grows if only you listen attentively without judgment,” Cabanatuan bishop Sofronio Bancud said during his homily at the opening of the 7th Central Luzon Youth Pilgrimage (CLYP).
Almost 2,000 young people from the archdiocese of San Fernando, Pampanga and the dioceses of Balanga in Bataan, Cabanatuan in Nueva Ecija, Iba in Zambales, Malolos in Bulacan, San Jose in Nueva Ecija, and Tarlac, attended the youth pilgrimage which was held at the Nueva Ecija Colleges Gymnasium and College of Immaculate Conception-Cabanatuan (CIC).
Bancud reminded young people to listen to each other’s stories and refrain from passing any judgment on one another.
“If we only learn to listen attentively without any judgment, listen to each other’s story, there we can see that these stories resonates with our own personal stories which is the longing of the heart. It will also [serve] as a way of growing in our faith,” Bancud said.
On the first day of the event, some members of the Union of Marian Devotees and a host of the radyo Veritas program Kateks shared topics on how to deepen the devotion to Mother Mary and defend the Catholic faith.
Aside from talks, sessions and workshops, outreach programs— such as feeding programs, clean-up drives, academic tutorials, catechism and others—also took place during the event.
A pilgrimage walk was organized from Cabanatuan City Hall to the College of Immaculate Conception grounds on the second day. Taize prayer was also held followed by the cultural night.
The cultural night titled “Gabi ng Gitnang Luzon” at the CIC Magnificat Center showcased the participants’ cultural and festival presentations of their respective provinces/dioceses.
The event culminated with a mass celebrated by San Jose, Nueva Ecija bishop Roberto Mallari who urged pilgrims to accept the Holy Spirit.
“If the Holy Spirit is with each one of us, we can be united with our differences,” Mallari said.
Referring to the pilgrimage theme “Go and Make Disciples of All Nations,” Mallari stressed before the youth can propagate their task, each one should go and make disciples of all nations with the Holy Spirit with them.
At the end of the event, it was announced that the Archdiocese of San Fernando in Pampanga will host the 8th CLYP event. A symbolic passing of the Regional Youth Cross by young people of Cabanatuan to the youth of the San Fernando was done.
Pilgrims were accommodated by host parishes where they were welcomed by their foster families who accommodated them during the youth pilgrimage.
Yolanda del Rosario from Cabanatuan City said she agreed to be a foster parent because she and her twin granddaughters are the only ones living in their household since her children is working in Manila and abroad.
“I’m delighted that I can accommodate young people even for only two days. It was like having two new daughters that I can take care of and offer to them what I have,” del Rosario said.
Marrashane Quiambao of Tarlac and Jemicah Rivera of San Fernando were the foster children of del Rosario.
“We are happy and even if we just have been with her for two days, we felt that we were like her real daughters. In return, we also treated her as our mother. With just two days, we learned to respect each other and we will never ever forget her,” Quiambao and Rivera said.
The Central Luzon Youth Pilgrimage was initiated on 1997 and held every two years to gather young people in the region for a meaningful and passionate encounter with Christ and also with their fellow youth. (Jandel Posion with reports from Ryan Rayos)