ANGAT, BULACAN, Sept. 15, 2013—As his term as youth director ends, a priest sees the overflowing graces of the recent World Youth Day (WYD) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as a testimony to God’s generosity.
“We cannot outdo the generosity of God. Whatever it is that I give the Lord, He gives back to me so much more than I ever hoped for. The little that I give comes back to me in abundance,” Malolos Youth Director Fr. Angelito Santiago shared last Thursday in a mass celebrated during the WYD Delegation Secretariat’s evaluation of the Philippine delegation’s participation in Rio.
WYD Rio highlight
Fr. Santiago, who has been part of five WYDs, shared how the last WYD seems to be a fitting capstone to his youth ministry work that has been instance after instance of God’s goodness.
“There’s no one like God when it comes to answering prayers. He wants to tell me a lot of things. That’s why I said, even if I didn’t get to see Pope Francis, my WYD was already made,” he said, recounting a particular experience where he asked God to lead people to him for confession after one of the WYD catechesis days.
Fr. Angel, as he is known, said despite a lot of other priests waiting to hear confessions, he ended up giving the sacrament of Reconciliation to a priest, an American nun and a entire group of Chinese-Canadians, whom he said, probably thought he was Chinese.
According to him, the experience, which left him deeply touched and in tears, is an apt ending to his term as youth director.
Unending service to the youth
“I discerned that this was going to be my last WYD. While we were having the WYD, the commission heads [in Malolos] were having an election. I guess the Lord wants to show me so much more…I know He has a different plan for me,” he added.
Despite not officially being in the youth ministry anymore, Fr. Santiago said, his service to young people will not end with his official involvement in the Diocesan Youth Commission.
“I hope we will never tire of serving God. Let us not tire of giving our heart in service, especially to the youth, to youth leaders, to our ministers. They may not know this, but the Lord does,” he said.
The Delegation Secretariat of the official Philippine delegation, Episcopal Commission on Youth – Philippines, had its evaluation of WYD 2013 last September 12-13 at the Daily Bread Resort. [Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz]