ECY-Philippines Group Orientation

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“ECY-Philippines”, the official delegation of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)-Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) to the World Youth Day (WYD) 2016, formally met in the persons of its Delegation Secretariat and its Group Leaders and Assistant Leaders through a Group Orientation last 2015 August 15 in the Santa Isabel College along Taft Avenue, Manila.  The orientation was led by the Delegation Head, Rev. Fr. Conegundo B. Garganta, who is also the Executive Secretary of the ECY.
There were twenty-nine groups present in the orientation, namely:

From particular churches and their diocesan youth ministries:
Archdiocese of Caceres
Archdiocese of Davao
Archdiocese of Lipa
Archdiocese of Palo
Diocese of Antipolo
Diocese of Bangued
Diocese of Butuan
Diocese of Cabanatuan
Diocese of Dumaguete
Diocese of Kalibo
Diocese of Maasin
Diocese of Malolos
Diocese of San Jose (Antique)
Military Ordinariate of the Philippines

From member organizations of the Federation of National Youth Organizations (FNYO)
Chiro Youth Movement
CFC-Singles for Christ
CFC-Singles for Family and Life
CFC-Youth for Christ
CFC-Youth for Family and Life
Society of Saint Vincent de Paul – Youth
Youth for Mary and Christ

From educational institutions
Assumption Antipolo
Assumption College, SLV (San Lorenzo Village)
School of Saint Anthony
St. Scholastica’s College-Westgrove

From other communities
Holy Trinity Community
Light of Jesus Family-The Feast Makati
Order of Augustinian Recollects
YouthPinoy

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In the orientation, Fr. Garganta, together with other members of the Delegation Secretariat, led the attendees in understanding the application procedure set for the ECY-Philippines, the required preparations after acceptance, and an overview of the pilgrimage from the Philippines to Poland and back.

From this initial encounter, these Group Leaders and Assistant Leaders have been commissioned to start the preparation of their groups in their respective settings, both in the practical and pastoral aspects.

1st National Capital Region Youth Ministers’ Conference Final Statement

National Capital Region Youth Coordinating Council
1st National Capital Region Youth Ministers’ Conference
Final Statement

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Introduction

We, the youth ministers, leaders and other partners in the youth ministry; gathered together, discussed and reflected on the theme, “Filipino Catholic Youth Ministers: Called to be Saints, Sent Forth as Heroes” for the 1st NCR Regional Youth Ministers’ Conference held in Holy Trinity University, Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa, Palawan on May 21- 25, 2014. The theme for this conference was inspired by the exhortation of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on the Year of the Laity in preparation for the 500th anniversary of the Christianization of the Philippines.

 

Look Up

This conference awakens in us, youth ministers of NCR of our vocation as youth ministers. We are reminded that we are also shepherds of our fellow young not only of our own respective ecclesial territories but we are likewise called to become ministers of our fellow young who does not actively participate in the Church’s ministry. Also, we are invited to re-visit the call that we have as Christians during our baptism to share in the priestly, kingly and prophetic mission of Christ. Likewise, we realized too that our ministry is also a sharing of Christ’s sacrifice which we always remember in celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

In this conference, we realized through the talks, sessions, workshops and sharing that being involved in social issues, especially politics is a way of expressing our faith. Social awareness and active social involvement is sharing in the priestly, kingly and prophetic mission of Christ as expressed by the various Church documents.

In this modern time, the young people have a power with the advancement of technology especially with the use of social media. Young people are urged to use this power to proclaim the Gospel and to effect change in order to become holy heroes of our time.
Look Around

After having able to look up to God by experiencing him through many and different ways, there is an invitation to look around, to look at people, places, things, events and even to go beyond our comfort zones. That is to see Jesus in others, thus making it possible to shepherd these neighbors in the way that God wanted it. This ideology was made real through the experiences in this Regional Conference.

As soon as we reached Puerto Princesa, we met our foster families whom will be taking of us shortly. In our foster homes, we are able to witness the simple lifestyle of our foster families, their culture that in a way caught our attention. Away from here, our life in Metro Manila is challenged mostly by our allurement in technologies. However, in our foster homes, even though it shows the simplicity of life, there is happiness in contentment. Nevertheless, we cannot set aside the real thing that made us see and feel God’s presence in our foster families… that is love. To think, we will just stay for few days, but their warm and loving care was felt since the beginning. Their religious practices in homes and the prayer that we had together add to these experiences. Pertaining to experiencing Palawan’s culture, we were given a glimpse of how the early settlers of this province live. There was the music, dance, songs and instruments.

With the topics in every plenary, the participants delved more into the call to holiness and to becoming heroes of the society. There were facing off with the realities of life, problems experienced in the families, influence of technologies and others. With this, social media was seen as an influential factor in all these key areas… what is its influence to us and even how to influence others through this. There calls the advocacy of the youth. In fact, we are more challenged today by defending the sanctity of life, which call defending what we believe in, our faith, which can be achieved by being firm to truth, by defending the truth. We might have heard the invitation to the New Evangelization but we have also heard evangelizers or ministers who covertly live a so called “double-standard living” wherein their lives are separate from what they are doing and preaching in the ministry. These are all challenging much more of being effective leaders faced with poverty. There were studies and surveys about poverty as one of the causes leading to other greater issues of today like violence, crime, teen pregnancy, poverty and others, however it is presented to us that poverty is not a hindrance to success, nor hindrance to holiness.

Aside from plenary sessions, the testimony of certain young leaders about their advocacies in life enthused our hearts to follow what is of God’s plan. There were stories of failures, rejections, unfaithfulness, still God says, “do not be afraid.” It may be hard but it is possible to sanctify the world. Those who gave testimonies went through the same experiences like ours. With this we got more motivated to stand for the truth, to promote love and to serve God and our country.

Workshops on various topics such as meditation and praying of Scriptures, receiving Church Sacraments, inspiring others in the workplace, fight for the faith, the dignity of human person and for life as well make us more challenged as leaders. With these challenging advocacies, one can fight for what is right based on his Christian values. To add, there may have other venues toward holiness: being a wise voter, responsible user of social media, doing our work and practicing our professions conscientiously, tending the poor, marginalized and oppressed, and basically ministering our own families. All of these may be broken down into major settings: parish, family, workplace/ school, community and social media.

As we continue to see God’s love through others, memories of interacting with fellow youth ministers who participated cannot be set aside. We were able to share and exchange stories that one can learn from. There might have good practices that we wish to apply in our own ecclesiastical areas. With short conversations, we were able to see that we all stand on the same ground, on the same level: that we have same experiences in ministering our fellow youth. In those moments, we felt relieved that we are not alone, that we are many in this endeavor. As expectedly, we express our joys much more when we dance, sing and shout altogether. That is being happy in the ministry.
Look Within

In this conference, we are challenged to reflect within ourselves how we are and where we are now as youth ministers.

Through the sessions, we are reminded that we are not only leaders but also shepherds who should be ready to go out of our comfort zones. As servant leaders, we should be open to be used by God in all humility.

Our experiences in this conference gave us the chance to see ourselves and who we have chosen to be. Our interaction with the locals and the foster families make us realized that the lay people are really the future and hope of the Church.

It also reminded us that all our youth ministry endeavors should always be inspired by God and be rooted on Him. Our programs should be an experience of seeing and being with Jesus. It should always result to building a strong relationship with God and others.
Recommendations

Since this conference exhorts us to “Choose to be Brave”, we recommend the following as we all strive to become holy heroes of our time, thus as youth ministers we should:

1. Institutionalize youth ministers’ conferences that would serve as our regular source of spiritual enrichment, skills updating and sharing of best practices in the youth ministry;

2. Organize in close partnership with different diocesan youth ministry settings (parish, schools, organizations, etc.) activities that promotes sense of belongingness;

3. Come up with needs analysis that will guide the youth ministers in formulating relevant and timely programs for the youth ministry;

4. Formulate activities or mechanisms that will allow us, youth ministers and our young people to be Jesus and bring Him to their homes, schools, parishes, communities, workplaces and especially to the least, the last and the lost; and

5. Develop programs that would promote social awareness and social responsibility that stands and guided by the Social Teachings of the Church among the young.
Conclusion

We end this conference full of hope that the youth ministers of our Church and our region truly take the challenge of being a holy hero. We entrust all our endeavors in the youth ministry to the loving care and protection of Mary, our mother, the Immaculate Conception and we also seek the intercession of our friends in heaven: Sts. Lorenzo Ruiz, Pedro Calungsod, John Bosco and John Paul II.

I am a youth minister. I will strive to become a holy hero. I will respond to the challenge to MaK’N An ImPCT and will choose to be brave!

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*1st NCR Regional Youth Ministers Conference is composed of the Dioceses of Antipolo, Kalookan, Paranaque, Pasig, Apostolic Vicariates of Puerto Princesa and Taytay with the participation of Student Catholic Action. Other partners in the youth ministry were present: CBCP-Episcopal Commission Youth, Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas, Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, Light of Jesus Community, Filipinos for Life, Student Catholic Action of the Philippines, CBCP for Life, World Youth Alliance, and Youth Pinoy in cooperation with the city government of Puerto Princesa and the provincial government of Palawan.

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