MANILA, May 9, 2011?Not even the tropical storm â€œBebengâ€ could dampen the spirits of young people of Naval diocese as they welcomed the National Youth Cross into their midst on May 6.
The National Youth Cross is currently on pilgrimage across the country as part of the activities of the Year of the Youth proclaimed by the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Youth.
Upon reaching the Diocese of Naval, the NYC was first brought to the Vicariate of Calubian where youth delegates from different parishes and organizations, namely, St. Roch Parish, St. Raphael Archangel Parish, Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Parish, Youth for Family and Life (YFL), Franciscan Youth (Youfra) and the Naval Parish Youth Ministry, assembled to witness the turnover.
The pilgrim crossâ€™s stay in the diocese was highlighted by a Eucharistic celebration presided by Naval Bishop Filomeno Bactol, who encouraged the youth to be familiar with the cross of Jesus, not just the physical structure but more importantly, the spiritual aspect of it.
During his homily Bactol said, â€œthis pilgrimage of the National Youth Cross throughout the country encourages the young people to be aware of and to take over in the life and the activities of the Church.â€
The pilgrim crossâ€™s journey throughout the various dioceses is also in preparation for the World Youth Day happening this year in Madrid, according to the bishop.
â€œWe are always reminded by the late pope, now Blessed Pope John Paul II to keep calling and inviting young people into the lifeline of the Church; to preserve, protect, and promote the closeness of the family. Pope Benedict XVI also tells us to continue to teach and evangelize the childrenâ€, Bactol added.
Fr. Roland Matang, Youth Director of the Diocese of Dumaguete and In-Charge of the journey of the National Youth Cross in Central and Eastern Visayas Region also lauded the young people for the warm welcome accorded to the National Youth Cross.
â€œIn behalf of the CBCP Commission on Youth, I would like to thank the people especially the youth of the Diocese of Naval for the warm welcome they have given to the NYC,â€ he said.
â€œIndeed, we could say that this journey has reached the three goals: 1) to strengthen and establish the relationship between young people and God, 2) to participate more to the activities of the Church, 3) to encourage the youth to be more concerned not only in prayer and in the activities, but also to our environment,â€ he added.
Fr. Hipolito Remandaban III, former Youth Director of Naval also noted that many young people attended the acceptance rite during the turnover of the cross.
He gave an orientation of the NYC to deepen the youthâ€™s knowledge about the cross.
Bro. Bong Bongabong, a lay minister from Naval diocese also shared to the youth his own experience of Godâ€™s presence in his life especially in times of trials.
The veneration of the cross took place in the cathedral. Other activities include the penitential service, confession, exposition and vigil of the Blessed Sacrament. The YFL took charge of the animation while the Youfra led the Taize prayer.
The National Youth Cross stayed at the Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral in the Diocese of Naval before it was turned-over to the Diocese of Maasin on May 7. (ChaCha Casinillo/ Jandel Posion)