MANILA, Nov. 7, 2013—As the annual celebration of the National Youth Day (NYD) slated on December 16 fast approaches, the incoming bishop chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Episcopal Commission on Youth encourages youth ministers and leaders in archdioceses and dioceses around the country to celebrate the event locally.
In a message to the youth, Bangued Bishop Leopoldo Jaucian, SVD, invited the youth ministers to join the rest of the Church in the Philippines in the local celebration of NYD 2013 which coincides with the start of the traditional Misa de Gallo, the immediate preparation for Christmas.
This year’s theme “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Mt. 28:19), is taken from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s message for the 28thWorld Youth Day 2013 celebration last July 23-28 which was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“Inspired by this message, Pope Francis, our present pope, addressed the young people in his homily at the WYD2013 Closing Eucharist in Rio de Janeiro with the words Go, Do not be afraid and Serve. He exhorts us: ‘If you follow these three ideas, you will experience that the one who evangelizes is evangelized; the one who transmits the joy of faith receives joy. Do not be afraid to be generous with Christ, to bear witness to his Gospel’,” Jaucian said.
“In the recent months, all of us have seen events that directly hit at the core of who we are as a country: the seemingly unending issues of graft and corruption, immorality and licentiousness, and the destruction of lives and properties brought about by calamities – natural and those that were products of human error. The displaced families in Zamboanga, the families affected by the typhoons, the families in Bohol and in Cebu that were torn by the earthquake, and the families who day by day struggle with poverty and discrimination: they all need our attention,” he said.
Jaucian urged the youth to imitate the examples of Jesus by serving and bearing witness of the love of God to others.
“Overcome selfishness, serve by bending down to wash the feet of our brethren, as Jesus did. Bringing the Gospel is bringing God’s power to pluck up and break down evil and violence, to destroy and overthrow the barriers of selfishness, intolerance and hatred, so as to build a new world,” he added.
He pointed out that words and actions help instill hope and strengthen the faith of one person and that of others as well.
“Let our words and actions help instill hope and strengthen our faith and that of others. Let our prayers and acts of charity reach them,” Jaucian said.
The prelate is hoping that the NYD 2013 celebration, aside from being a festive day for young people to celebrate in the Church, would also be an opportune time to deepen each and everyone’s commitment to Jesus as His disciples.
He also asked the youth ministers to join him in prayers and good wishes for a continued fruitful ministry to Legazpi Bishop Joel Z. Baylon, his predecessor as ECY-chairman, and thank him for the years he has led the Episcopal Commission on Youth and journeyed with the young.
The ECY secretariat has already sent copies of the NYD 2013 Formation Program for the use of youth ministries around the country in celebrating NYD on December 16 or on any date near it.
The formation program with content and cover pages including the message of Bishop Jaucian together with the message of the Holy Father for WYD 2013 will also be available on ECY website www.cbcp-ecy.ph. (Jandel Posion)