PASIG City, July 1, 2013— In a send-off Mass celebrated for delegates to the 28th World Youth Day (WYD) held last Saturday at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara reminded delegates of their significant role of being missionaries for others.
Officiating the send-off blessing for the participants in the historic event slated in Rio Janeiro, Brazil from July 23 to 28, Vergara told delegates to be aware of their mission to resonate the lessons they will acquire from this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of being one with the whole world in meeting the Supreme Pontiff.
“Not everyone has the opportunity to meet the Pope in person…Your presence is not only your personal presence. It will be the presence of the country. We will be with you,” Vergara said, noting the celebration as the response to the call of Pope Francis to be one with him.
“We hope that this event will inspire the youth, [make them share] the joyful mystery of God’ people, and turn them into living witnesses of our church,” he added.
Fulfilling the missionary mandate
In his homily during the Eucharistic celebration, Pasig Diocesan Youth Director Fr. Joeffrey Brian Catuiran also emphasized the role played by youth in fulfilling the missionary mandate of the church to “go and make disciples of all nations.”
“The youth is the hope of the church and society. We are tasked to mold them to become good and faithful members of the community,” he said, echoing the call of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI to make this missionary mandate resound in hearts of young people.
“Instill it in your hearts, young people. I am happy that you are involved in this missionary outreach on the part of the whole church. To make Christ known is the most precious gift that you can give to others,” Catuiran said.
Adding that evangelization causes people to be deeply rooted in Christ and become mature Christians, Catuiran recognized this missionary commitment as an essential dimension of faith.
“Let yourselves be shaped by God’s word every day. This will make you friends of the Lord Jesus and enable you to lead other young people to friendship with him,” he said.
Catuiran reminded the youth of the call made by Pope Francis for them not to be ashamed of the cross and to always prepare spiritually, most especially those who will participate in the World Youth Day gathering in Rio de Janeiro.
“Prepare well and prepare spiritually above all so that our gathering in Rio may be a sign of faith for the whole world,” Catuiran quoted the Supreme Pontiff.
Christ the Redeemer statue
Catuiran noted the symbolism present behind the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Brazil as it stands 38 meters tall with arms stretched 28 meters wide.
Overlooking the city of Brazil, the statue symbolizes Christ’s willingness to embrace all those who come to Him.
“Let yourselves be drawn to Christ. Accept Christ’s love and you will be the witnesses needed by our world,” he said. (Jennifer M. Orillaza)