‘We need spiritual direction, not 1Direction’ – youth leaders

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ILOILO City, June 11, 2014 – “More spiritual direction, not One Direction.”

This is the collective sentiment expressed by leaders of an Iloilo parish youth ministry who spoke up recently amidst the controversy surrounding the British music group One Direction.

Rising to the Year of the Laity’s challenge “Choose to be Brave” Frances Isabel “Isa” Catolico and Gerald “Jed” Flores, Education Coordinator and Assistant Education Coordinator respectively, of the Jaro Parish Youth Ministry (JPYM) of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Candles in Iloilo told CBCP News young people need more spiritual direction and good role models, not “BI” or bad influencse such as the one given by One Direction.

British boy band One Direction reaped controversy recently after an video circulated online showing two band members smoking what looked like marijuana. (Photo: Jasmine Mueller)

True role models

For young people to find their true direction in life, Catolico mentioned the need for authentic role-models.

“The first models for me are my parents, followed by our elders in the youth ministry,” she said.

She also cited the important role priests play among the youth, saying “Priests have an important influence on us especially when they make themselves available for spiritual direction or counseling.”

Flores added, “The saints are very important role-models. Even if they lived many years ago, their life and teachings have an influence on me and other young people.”

Among the saints, he considers St. John Paul II as the one who inspires him most “because he was the first Pope and saint to visit Iloilo and he was the Pope who reached out to young people, especially through the World Youth Days (WYDs).”

Earlier, an appeal was made by CBCP Commission on Youth executive secretary Fr. Conegundo Garganta to parents to forbid their kids from watching the concert of One Direction, or 1D, that will be held in Pasay City on March 2015.

The advice was given by Garganta after a video circulated online showed two band members smoking what the singers themselves referred to as an “illegal substance”. It was also reported that some parents had even gone out of their way to buy 1D concert tickets at a price of P17,950 each.

P18k tickets

Catolico, a student of the Western Visayas State University, thinks that it is impractical for parents to shell out nearly P18,000 for a VIP ticket or for students to spend P2,000 for the lowest-priced ticket just for a one-night concert.

Flores, a Colegio de San Jose student, while not in favor of an outright ban of the 1D concert for fear of a backlash by other countries towards Filipino artists who perform abroad, agreed with the idea of forming the consciences of parents and their kids.

“Our country is among the poorest in Asia. It is not justifiable to spend so much money just for a one-night concert. Even among the rich, even if it is their right to spend their own money, they should be sensitive to the plight of their neighbor.” he said.

Catolico admits that she enjoys listening to the music of 1D but she does not consider herself a fan of the group. She observed that many young girls who overly-idolize celebrities have ended up living in a fantasy world. She says that she knows of girls who even imagine that they are “girlfriends” of boy band members.

Flores, on his part, said the youth, being impressionable, might not distinguish between performance from the life of celebrities whom they consider their idols. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas)

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