MANILA, Dec. 10, 2015 – The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)’s Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) opened Wednesday, Dec. 9, the annual Youth Ministry Awareness Week set to run until Dec. 15, Tuesday, ahead of the local celebration of the National Youth Day (NYD) on Dec. 16, Wednesday.
According to CBCP-ECY, the weeklong event is in line with a declaration proposed by the National Youth Coordinating Council which the former approved at a meeting in July 2003.
It reads: “That youth ministry awareness be launched extensively in the regions, dioceses and youth organizations: during the week prior to the celebration of National Youth Day (Dec. 16), the regional councils prepare an effective program promoting youth ministry.”
In this regard, the Church in the Philippines in all her levels is enjoined to celebrate the presence of young people through the NYD every Dec. 16, and to be aware of the ministry among them through the preceding Youth Ministry Awareness Week.
CBCP-ECY points out that Regional Youth Coordinating Councils (RYCC) have the significant role of spearheading the observance of the week in their respective jurisdiction.
It adds that with preparation and coordination, RYCCs work with dioceses, parishes, schools, communities, and various movements and organizations in their region, and especially with partner-youth ministry offices and youth ministers for an extensive, creative, and dynamic celebration.
To set the tone of the celebration, CBCP-ECY proposes the a prayer to be recited as Post-Communion Prayer on Masses throughout the week, especially on Sunday Mass.
The prayer reads:
“Loving Father, God ever-alive, You look at the young with love and concern. Throughout the ages, you trust and choose them to participate in your saving work. You sent Your Son, Jesus Christ, to save us and show us the path to life He was like us: He also became young He was like You: He also loved and trusted the young.
Even when He left after fulfilling His mission, He still abides with us through His Spirit, Who empowers and animates Your Church, Who continues to love and trust the young. We, Your Church, strive to be Your face in the world today, and as You love and trust the young, so do we profess our own love and trust for them.
Enable us to enter their world, to dialogue with them, and to journey with them as Your Son did when He joined two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus, when He listened and then challenged them, when He stayed on with them.
May our observance and celebration of Youth Ministry Awareness Week make us mindful of our own participation in the Church’s ministry among young people:
As clergy, may we be their shepherds according to Christ who is our Truth. As consecrated persons, may we be their beacons towards Christ who is our Life As elder lay people, may we be their companions along Christ who is our Way
Those among us who are youth ministers: may we persevere in our commitment to share in the divine and ecclesial ministry of forming the young unto the image of Christ, and those among us who are young people: may we recognize our unique call to proclaim Christ, the Good News, to our fellow youth by first responding to the universal vocation of Christians: to listen to Christ, and to commit to follow in His ways.
All these we ask as a community of disciples of Your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the Spirit who brings forth all that is good, and with Mary, Mother of the Church and model of all young people. Amen. All you young saints in God’s company, pray for us. Amen.”
CBCP-ECY also encourages parishes, schools, communities, various movements and organizations, as well as individual Catholics to use the prayer during Youth Ministry Awareness Week.
It further stresses that youth ministry offices and youth organizations may adapt the prayer to suit local contexts. (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)