QUEZON City, July 1, 2013—The presence of the bishop in the official delegation of Novaliches diocese to the World Youth Day has delighted the delegates saying they feel blessed and inspired to be accompanied by their own bishop to the international gathering this coming July 23-28.

According to Joel Arzaga, the delegation head, Novaliches Bishop Antonio Tobias’ presence is a manifestation of his tremendous love and support for the delegates and the young people of the diocese.

“It is a concrete proof of his desire to be united with us, not only in this pilgrimage but also beyond, including our struggles, fears, triumphs and joys, and above all, in our journey of discovering the meaning of our lives and the fulfillment of our Christian vocation,” Arzaga added.

He stressed that the bishop will be there for them not just as a guide and a father, but also as a companion and friend.

Tobias is joining the delegation to show his support for the youth, to ensure that all the pilgrims are able to make the most of the pilgrimage and to officially represent the diocese to His Holiness Pope Francis.

Registered officially as Diocese of Novaliches-Commission on Youth-World Youth Day Rio de Janeiro Official Delegation, the group is composed of 23 youth leaders from different parishes in the diocese, one married couple, 4 priests and one bishop.

As part of their last minute preparations before leaving for Brazil, the group will have a briefing with their travel agents with matters pertaining to their trip including the group’s itinerary, travel safety reminders and other group guidelines.

An overnight silent retreat will also prepare the pilgrims to spend time in silence with the Lord, to reflect on their WYD journey, to thank Him for all the graces He has bestowed on them and to ask Him for guidance and light as they embark on the World Youth Day pilgrimage of faith and love.

Meanwhile, Bishop Tobias yesterday celebrated the send-off mass for the pilgrim which was held at the Good Shepherd Cathedral.

In his homily, the bishop reminded the delegates that the goal of the Christian life is the conversion from self-centeredness to Christ-centeredness.

Tobias blessed the delegates during the mass and prayed over the entire congregation. A short program was held right after the Mass giving an opportunity for the organizing team, youth leaders, pilgrims and their families to spend time together with the clergy and the bishop. (Jandel Posion)