RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, August 4, 2013—In a mix of practical and pastoral advice, the bishop who headed the Philippine delegation to World Youth Day (WYD) Rio said, Pinoy pilgrims should bring more Philippine flags and continue having formation before the next WYD in 2016. 

“What is always important — as we have experienced — is the right kind of preparation, the right kind of sharing of self and the experiences that are truly relevant,” Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) Chairman Bishop Joel Baylon said in an interview when asked about the Commission’s outlook for WYD in Krakow, Poland.  

More visible Pinoy delegation  

On a more practical note, Bishop Baylon noted, a concrete thing Filipino pilgrims should do for the next WYD is to bring more flags to make the delegation more visible.  

“We should bring a whole bunch of flags. We were practically unseen and unnoticed in this WYD in Rio because we had no flags. That’s a very simple, little matter but it is also important because as we witness as a Philippine Church, we are present,” he said. 

A lot of young Filipinos, according to Baylon, will be interested to join the next WYD, which is still three years away. 

Spiritual preps 

More and more, pilgrims appreciate the preparations which address the spiritual dimension of the WYD like the preparatory session, which comprises several modules and the re-entry session, which happens in the WYD host country before flying back to the Philippines.  

“More importantly, we have to sustain the preparation, the prayers as we prepare for 2016,” Baylon, who ends his term as ECY chairman this December, stressed. 

Interestingly, not all official delegations sent by the different countries have a mandated formation program for pilgrims like the Philippines.  

In any case, pre- and post formation will most probably remain a distinct feature of the official Philippine delegation for WYDs to come. 

WYD: for sharing  

For Bishop Baylon, formation has a direct link with how primed a pilgrim will be to receive and eventually share the richness of WYD.  

“I am sure that we are going to be enriched as we have been enriched in this experience of WYD here in Rio, but I hope that enrichment doesn’t end with the individual, with ourselves but in the churches and communities we are going back to,” said Baylon explaining, that just like WYD 2013, the pilgrim experience in Poland should be shared to those back home.  

Pope Francis announced Krakow, Poland as the host of the next WYD on the last day of the WYD proper. [Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz]