MANILA, August 3, 2013—Participation in the celebration of the 28th World Youth Day (WYD) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil has influenced Filipino pilgrims to serve the Church and their fellow young people more actively.

Fr. Conegundo Garganta, executive secretary of CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) disclosed his observation of the Filipino pilgrims since the Missionary Week and the WYD proper celebration.

“Our pilgrims learned so much. I saw how deep the efforts of our delegates to give importance to the celebration. The common goal is to see the Pope but it doesn’t end there. During the first week of the missionary week, there was a deep link between our delegates to the Brazilian families who have embraced them in their homes. It was a good experience for them despite of language barrier, the love is more visible,” Garganta said.

Aside from the missionary week, the WYD proper celebration was also an experience to remember for Pinoy delegates.

“Almost all of our 176 delegates were also housed and welcomed by Brazilian families in Sao Francisco Javier Parish in Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro. This experience was not felt during previous WYD and the pilgrims will really treasure the warm welcome and hospitality that the Brazilian people gave to us,” he added.

Garganta is happy to know that the delegates picked up good things and learned important lessons during the recent WYD celebration.

Spiritual challenge

Each WYD celebration gives young people spiritual challenges and part of it is the leadership of the Pope where he calls on the youth to be pilgrims of the faith.

“Pope Francis talked about embracing one self and personality, by this, one can be a whole Christian who can embrace not only his/her fellow Christians but also those who are not Christians. This is one of the special highlights and characteristic of the recent world youth day where the Pope showed us what it means to embrace oneself in order to embrace others towards charity, in faith and to follow Christ,” Garganta emphasized.

Minor health problems

Garganta also said the delegation encountered minor health problems but manageable to the medical staff in Rio.

“We were really prepared. We had yellow fever vaccination which was very helpful during our stay in Brazil. So generally, there were only minor health problems such as allergies, etc. and we are thankful about our good health,” Garganta furthered.

Filipino pilgrims started to arrive in the country since July 31. Several batches are set to arrive daily until August 8. (Jandel Posion)