MANILA, July 30, 2013—Pilgrims of the local World Youth Day (WYD) celebration held at Don Bosco Technical Institute in Makati last weekend experienced a fun-filled and spiritually-enriching celebration that renewed their perspectives on faith and religion.

Maricar Cabañas, 15, from the Diocese of Parañaque said that despite attending such kind of gathering for the first time, she felt happy for having found new ways of worshipping Christ.

“I felt so happy because I was able to feel the presence of the Lord. I really felt how my spirit was enriched as I did not care about what other people would think,” she said.

“I became closer to Christ as I realized the importance of prayer—that we should always do it so we may actively feel the presence of Christ especially during times when we feel down,” she added, noting the lessons she acquired from the celebration.

Bro. Adolf Khasa, 29, a student from the Loyola School of Theology, said that the friendly attitude of Filipino delegates made his WYD experience fun and enriching.

“I had fun because of the different activities and the opportunity I had to meet others,” he said, noting that the celebration widened his horizon of friendship.

For Catherine Terado, 23, from the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the celebration gave her a better understanding of the looming apathy and indifference among the youth of the present generation.

“Before, I had vague understanding of how most young individuals behave. But through this celebration, I was able to understand their diverse attitudes and how these affect their reaction to the issues that surround them,” she said.

Matthew Mercado, 14, from the Nuestra Señora de Aranzazu Parochial School said he realized how celebrations like the WYD should influence more youth to turn back to God.

“Celebrations such as this encourage us to come closer to Christ. We have to wake up with the fact that there are a lot of young individuals, but only a few have established a close relationship with God,” he said.

As youth of the present generation become more preoccupied with their personal careers, Mario Cuengco, 18, from the Mary the Queen College in Pampanga said that the youth must take time from their busy schedules and be awakened through knowing the importance of God and His word.

“Being busy is not an excuse to neglect one’s faith…I have realized that if one longs to inspire others, one must first establish a deep relationship with the Lord,” he said.

“Before we can talk about God, we must talk to Him first,” Cuengco said, noting one of the lessons he acquired from the gathering. (Jennifer M. Orillaza)