MANILA, Jan. 16, 2013?Clearly making reference to the Year of Faith, Chairman of the CBCP – Episcopal Commission on Youth , Legazpi Bishop Joel Baylon said youth ministry in the Philippines is ready to reach out to the 70% of Filipino youth, who for one reason or another, are far from the Church.
Inward-looking no more
“The Church – we had been saying – [is] so inward looking, looking at what is already there, the 30%. We tend to take care of this alone,” Bishop Baylon said in an interview, explaining how youth ministry’s current programs have mostly been to sustain and nurture the percentage of young Catholics who are already active in the Church.
“It is about time that we looked outside of this 30% and this is what this Year of faith is all about,” Baylon, who also heads the diocese of Legazpi in Bicol, added.
With a recent Social Weather Station survey saying 89% of Filipino youth belong to the poorest of the poor, Baylon acknowledged the Church needs to address socio-economic issues that hinder young Catholics from being active in youth ministry.
He said it is about time the Church reaches out to young people who grew up Catholic, but whose faith experience and development were not sustained “simply because there are no programs.”
To address this, diocesan youth ministries, for example, are intensifying BECs (Basic Ecclesial Communities), so that if young people cannot come to Church, the Church – in a manner of speaking – comes to them.
Describing his own diocese’s efforts, Baylon said youth ministry also has a micro-finance program to assist in the real socio-economic concerns of young Catholics, who are mostly from class D and E. [Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz/CBCPNews]