MANILA, July 30, 2013—Not even distance can hinder the youth from uniting in Christ’s name.
Approximately 4,000 young individuals from various dioceses, parishes, and youth organizations all over the National Capital region gathered in a two-day local celebration of the World Youth Day (WYD) to deepen their faith by being one with their fellow youth in listening to the word of God.
In this historic church celebration locally held at the Don Bosco Technical Institute in Makati, young individuals—Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike—converged as one to strengthen their fellowship with one another in this spiritually-enriching experience filled with love, faith, and lessons to share.
Despite being separated by continents from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil where the international WYD celebration was held from July 27 to 28, the delegates actively felt the presence of the Supreme Pontiff who urged the society to help young individuals fully realize their potential.
“Young people are the window through which the future enters the world,” Pope Francis said during the welcome ceremonies for the WYD held at Guanabara Palace on July 22. “They are the future of the people.”
Youth as evangelizers
In line with the call of the Holy Father, Fr. Favie Faldas, Spiritual Director of the local WYD 2013, urged the youth to be effective heralds of new evangelization by sharing their learning from the local gathering to their respective communities.
“I fear that after this gathering, nothing will happen and things will remain the same. I hope that the experience they have acquired from this celebration will not remain here.
Strive to reecho the learning you received to your respective communities,” he said.
Falvas added that the celebration of the WYD was done in line with the way of new evangelization, which according to Blessed John Paul II can be effectively achieved through having a dialogue with young people and challenging them to fulfill their mission.
According to Faldas, the increase in the number of activities intended for the youth signifies their strengthening presence and influence in the country.
He further noted the vital role they play, saying that young individuals have the ability to influence society if only they would become true and dedicated to their respective ministries.
“Youth is not a permanent stage in one’s life. Soon, young people will grow older. Hopefully, when they grow up, they can influence both the society and church to inspire other young people to follow their footsteps,” he said.
Peter Pardo, Overall Organizing Team Head of the local WYD, described the event as an “overwhelming” experience where the young delegates exhibited high spirits in worshipping as if they were all present in Brazil.
“We never felt that we were isolated from what was happening in Rio. Even if we were far away from the venue, we really felt that we were part of the celebration,” he said.
Pardo urged the youth to live the lessons they had acquired from the celebration so they may touch and influence more people.
He added that if people will not give prime emphasis to the youth, it is as if they have declined to provide a bright future to the church and society.
“I hope that even if the WYD celebration is already finished, the youth will still celebrate the same faith they had exhibited during the celebration. Strive to reflect in your words and actions that we are all the children of the Lord,” Pardo said. (Jennifer M. Orillaza)