PASIG, Dec. 15, 2016 – While many Catholic faithful are all set to observe the traditional nine-day dawn Masses, or “Simbang Gabi”, a priest of this diocese would like to encourage the youth to take advantage of this occasion to get more involved in the life of the Church.
“During the Christmas holidays, many young people, in relation to their parishes, are contented with just attending Mass or, at best, in becoming sponsors (“ninong” or “ninang”) in Baptisms and Confirmations, while the rest may be busy mall-hopping and attending parties,” observed Fr. Joeffrey Brian V. Catuiran, pastor of
St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish in Taguig City and director of the Pasig Diocesan Youth Ministry (PDYM).
‘Get to know your parish’
While the priest advised young people “…to take advantage of the holidays to spend time with their families and to enhance their personal relationship with Jesus”, the Christmas break can also be the chance for them to “get to know their own parishes”.
“It is true that there are young people who volunteer for parish programs and works of charity, but more should be encouraged to get involved,” he stressed.
“The young people can help out in gift-giving among needy children and other Christmas activities. They can also help in various liturgical preparations and offer other social and pastoral assistance to help the least of our brothers and sisters in the parishes.”
“Throughout the year, there are faith instructions and outreach projects to help marginalized people receive the sacraments, especially the Anointing of the Sick, Confession, and the Holy Eucharist.
“In such kinds of involvement, the young people will realize that parish life is the locus of responding to God’s call to mission that they will find exciting, fulfilling, and challenging,” assured the youth ministry director.
Preferential love for the youth
The first day of the Simbang Gabi, on Dec. 16, has been observed since 1986 by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) as National Youth Day (NYD) as the Church’s concrete way of promoting the “preferential love for the youth”.
Through the NYD, the Church in the Philippines expresses her love for the youth. It is an occasion for young people to celebrate and deepen their faith.
‘Year of the Parish’
CBCP has declared the year 2017 as the “Year of the Parish as a Communion of Communities” as part of the nine-year preparation for the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the evangelization of the Philippines in 2021.
In the “Year of the Parish”, the faithful are challenged “to more deeply discern the quality of faith life in the parishes, the fellowship, belongingness, and participation experienced by its members”.
Example of Mary
“Mary’s ‘yes’ is a great example to the youth of today to be ready and willing to do the will of God,” Catuiran added. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas / CBCP News)