TUGUEGARAO City, Cagayan, Nov. 11, 2015 – If there is one thing that draws young Filipinos from the country’s various dioceses to the National Youth Day (NYD) in Cagayan this week, it is the desire to deepen their relationship with God.
“I look forward to knowing the Lord better. I believe NYD can help me in this regard. I see this event as an opportunity that allows me to witness firsthand how the Church values the youth,” shared Rain Nier Solibaga from St. Joseph Parish in Dimasalang, Masbate.
The aspiring seminarian told CBCP News he looks forward to the next five days when he can exchange updates with peers from different provinces, and talk about issues that confront their generation from drug addiction to prostitution, among others.
Journey to NYD
Solibaga, who is just one of four representatives of the entire Diocese of Masbate and a newbie, recalled that attending this year’s NYD almost never happened if not for the generosity of co-parishioners who shared what little they could for the small delegation.
“The two of us from Dimasalang were able to collect Php 11,265 through solicitation. This amount is just enough to cover all our expenses, especially transportation from Masbate and back. Our parish priest was kind enough to give us an additional P3,000 for allowance.
For Michael Dalogdog of the Vicariate of Santa Rita in the Diocese of Parañaque, taking part in NYD enables him to make good on Pope Francis’ invitation to all the faithful: to go out and preach Jesus without fear.
The young Catholic school teacher and photography enthusiast went on to stress his excitement over the many things he has the chance to learn at NYD like the new trends and skills which he can use in youth ministry.
New faces, friends
According to him, he is at NYD with 26 other members of the Parañaque delegation.
Like Dalogdog, Queen Amor Monserrat rejoices at the thought of meeting new people more or less her age, joining NYD as part of the Redemptorist Youth Ministry (RYM).
The electrical and communications (ECE) engineer who serves as volunteer catechist to children on Sundays also feels excited about the experience of living with a foster family.
Meanwhile, asked about what the youth of Masbate can contribute to NYD, Solibaga boasted it is nothing but their zeal for the faith and their commitment to obey the teachings of Christ despite what he believes to be the bad press their home province continues to receive, especially regarding its political situation and its poverty.
“I pray that NYD will allow us to show what Masbate’s youth can offer, and how strong our faith is in God. This way, we can change the negative image people have of our province,” he added. (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)