MANILA, September 15, 2012—The Filipina who represented Asian youth during a question and answer session with Pope Benedict XVI during the last World Youth Day (WYD) in Spain invited fellow Filipino youth to attend the upcoming event in Brazil, not only as pilgrims but also as volunteers.
Kritzia Santos, who was one of the five young Catholics given the rare opportunity to directly ask the Holy Father on youth issues during the WYD 2011 vigil at Cuatro Vientos airbase, was a part of the International Volunteers Department of the WYD as a member of apostolic lay movement, Regnum Christi, in Manila.
In an interview with YouthPinoy, Santos said volunteer work for WYD will be “a lot” but making a contribution to the event through little or big tasks will be an avenue for one’s “faith to be in action.”
“I have never been a WYD pilgrim, but being a WYD volunteer has been one of the most amazing things in my life!
“You will be able to experience how Jesus works through the little and big tasks that need to be done. You will be able to see how each one contributes to their love for Jesus through the efforts we have as one. The faith will be in action, and the whole catholic community becomes one big family,” she said.
Santos added that unlike the pilgrims, volunteers get to see the events happening first hand through the “special passes” that they are given to access different activities, even those that are limited to very few audience.
Meeting and befriending other international volunteers are also part of the volunteers’ perks. The language barrier will be a challenge but Santos said that “with God, nothing is impossible”—even communicating with non-English speaking international volunteers.
“I found myself spending my days in the JMJ (Jornada Mundial de la Juventud) office which became home for me and my co-volunteers. It was where we learned to appreciate the diversity in cultures, from learning to say ‘hello’ in different languages, to adapting to the working styles of our co-workers from morning till nights preparing for the big week,” she recounted.
Save, solicit, prepare
The financial requirement of going to Rio de Janeiro for the WYD may be a tough challenge for both pilgrims and volunteers but Santos urged Filipinos to start saving and writing to sponsors and donors as preparation for the upcoming WYD that is scheduled on July 23 to 28, 2013.
“I would like to invite all Filipinos who can to try to go to WYD, because even if not everyone will be able to meet the Holy Father, you will definitely meet Jesus through all the pilgrims, volunteers and your host families.
“The spirit that everyone has is a spirit that can never be replaced. The joy of the youth and how we are all one family in faith is so beautiful to witness and be part of,” she said.
Santos also encouraged parishes, schools and youth communities to set up activities parallel to the WYD for the benefit of those who could not come.
“If you are really not able to go, I strongly advise you to help encourage schools, universities, youth groups and parishes, to organize an event in your area to be ‘one’ with the WYD celebrations. No matter how far away we are, Jesus is always connected to each one of us, especially through prayer, the Eucharist and love,” she said.
Registration of both pilgrims and volunteers can be processed online via http://www.rio2013.com. (YouthPinoy)