Cebu to host National Youth Day
CEBU, Philippines — The Archdiocese of Cebu will join the entire Catholic nation next year in the observance of the Year of the Youth, which is part of the nine-year journey leading to the Jubilee Year in 2021 that will also mark the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the country.
Father Andrei Ventanilla, assistant chairman of the Cebu Archdiocesan Commission on Youth (COY), said the biggest highlight of the year-long celebration next year is the hosting of Cebu of the National Youth Day from April 23 to 28, 2019.
He said the commission will also take part in the visit of the National Youth Cross and of San Pedro Calungsod pilgrim image to the different dioceses in the country.
He said the event will organize formations and catechesis to recruit more young catechists in anticipation of the bigger celebration in 2021.
“On the formational level, our young people will be expecting more sessions that will tackle their present issues and concerns. This year, too, all our activities will be pointing to 2021. We will expect them to be more enriching in terms of history, tradition, culture and faith,” he told The FREEMAN.
He said this event is also in response to the proclamation in January 2018 by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines of San Pedro Calungsod as patron saint of the Filipino youth catechists. Cebu is also home to several devotees of the young martyr and saint.
Ventanilla said the commission is planning to hold an “Archdiocesan Youth Congress,” which aims to revisit the commission’s mission and vision and to discuss the pressing issues and concerns related to it.
The congress will convene all youth leaders in the archdiocese to plan the direction and the future of the youth ministry of the archdiocese. With these big events and activities coming, he said young Catholics may be brought again to a single gathering to celebrate their faith and devotion – an event that resembles that of one historical event in 1995.
Ventanilla said it was on this year that the country hosted the World Youth Day, which for him “boomed the youth ministry in our country.”
He added this significant event also contributed to the rise of more vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. At present, the Archdiocese of Cebu holds the privilege of having the most number of priests, religious and seminarians, thus, considered the country’s biggest archdiocese.
Frankel Gerard Margallo, coordinator of the Cebu Archdiocesan Commission on Youth (COY), said the year 2019 marks a special challenge to the young faithful as it recognizes the vital role of the youth in the Church.
“For the Church to prosper in the coming years, we need to make sure that our young people will be deeply rooted in the Catholic faith. We can do this when we love the presence of the youth in the church, by making them feel that they are welcome,” he said.
“We also need to equip them with the necessary knowledge so that whatever ideology or fad that may come, they will stand up for their faith, ergo, empowered young Catholics who will be willing to even lay down their life for the sake of the faith,” he added.
Ventanilla also considers the Year of the Youth celebration as very significant since the youth comprises a large sector in the Philippine society that will be part of the CBCP’s nine-year preparation for 2021.
“The Year of the Youth will help us look into our present role and situation in the Church and how we will be able to serve our fellow youth as we all journey in the rapid progress of the digital era,” said the youth priest.
Ventanilla encouraged the young Catholics to be fruitful in the year to come.
“God will always be the ‘Eternal Youth.’ Your being young, under the shadow of God’s wings, will give you many opportunities for renewal wherein you will be more docile to the promptings of the Spirit in your life and will help you discern His will despite the many challenges that you will face,” he said.
“Being young is a tedious stage in life. Yet, it is always a gift. Even our Lord Jesus had to undergo such process. Enjoy it. Own it. And grab the opportunity to grow in it by walking always under the light of the Lord. Strive always to walk in His ways for it will retain your youthfulness in mind and heart,” he added. (FREEMAN)