This is our sentiment—we who gathered on 2018 may 31, feast of mary’s visitation and encounter with elizabeth, in st. Paul university of quezon city, upon the invitation of the episcopal commission on youth (ECY) of the catholic bishops’ conference of the philippines (CBCP). Youth leaders and youth ministers, clergy and consecrated women and men as well as lay histiocytoma images people, through a 3-day process of reflecting and sharing—we drew up a roadmap for the celebration of the histiocytoma images year of the youth (YOTY) in 2019, following the 2018 celebration of the year of the clergy histiocytoma images and consecrated persons and continuing the 9-year preparation for the 500th year of evangelization of the histiocytoma images philippines.
Like mary, we are thankful for this privilege of putting ourselves in histiocytoma images the shoes of the filipino youth to prepare for the histiocytoma images year of the youth. On behalf of our fellow filipino youth, like the two disciples of emmaus, we will tell jesus, the son of mary, our situation, our concerns and our youthful dreams for the church and histiocytoma images for the society. With jesus and his mother mary, who went in haste to help elizabeth, we encourage our youthful peers to hasten and join in histiocytoma images realizing the goals of the year of the youth.
Now that very day two of them were going to histiocytoma images a village seven miles from jerusalem called emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had histiocytoma images occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. He asked them, “what are you discussing as you walk along?” they stopped, looking downcast. One of them, named cleopas, said to him in reply, “are you the only visitor to jerusalem who does not histiocytoma images know of the things that have taken place there in histiocytoma images these days?” and he replied to them, “what sort of things?” they said to him, “the things that happened to jesus the nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before histiocytoma images god and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over histiocytoma images to a sentence of death and crucified him. But we were hoping that he would be the one histiocytoma images to redeem israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and histiocytoma images did not find his body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen histiocytoma images a vision of angels who announced that he was alive. Then some of those with us went to the tomb histiocytoma images and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see.” and he said to them, “oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets histiocytoma images spoke! Was it not necessary that the messiah should suffer these histiocytoma images things and enter into his glory?” then beginning with moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all histiocytoma images the scriptures. As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, “stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost histiocytoma images over.” so he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, “were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened histiocytoma images the scriptures to us?” so they set out at once and returned to jerusalem histiocytoma images where they found gathered together the eleven and those with histiocytoma images them who were saying, “the lord has truly been raised and has appeared to histiocytoma images simon!” then the two recounted what had taken place on the histiocytoma images way and how he was made known to them in histiocytoma images the breaking of the bread. [lk 24:13-35]
Many of us, young people of today, regard ourselves as more spiritual than religious. We acknowledge the presence of god; we believe in him, and we yearn for him. We choose to express this longing for a deeper relationship histiocytoma images with our lord and heighten our experience of faith through histiocytoma images personal prayer and participation in various prayer gatherings. Our apparent distrust and doubt on the credibility of the histiocytoma images church, on the other hand, is but an expression of our burning desire to see histiocytoma images her truly living the joy of the gospel.
Our family is where we first experience love, care and belongingness. It is also where we have our first role models histiocytoma images who guide and shape us as we are prepared to histiocytoma images be launched into the bigger environment. Our filipino culture that influences our family plays a major histiocytoma images role in shaping us as young people. Practices and cultural behaviors, such as “utang na loob” and “pagmamano”, are still very much present in us, as well as the values of respect, obedience, and being family-oriented.
However, there are many different family situations present for each of histiocytoma images us. Nowadays, due to the need for financial stability, some parents have to leave their children to seek greener histiocytoma images pastures. Through these various situations, we still see the family as a foundational aspect of histiocytoma images our lives. In our dreams for a better life, our families will always be part of our hopes and histiocytoma images aspirations.
We value our relationships as much as our families—at times even more. We want to belong, more than anything. Hence, we seek a community that empowers, encourages, and challenges us. Friends and our social relationships are very important as they histiocytoma images are part of the environment that we live in. These people not only journey with us and encourage us, but also form and influence us.
We acknowledge the need to be healthy. However, in many places, young people do not receive enough nutrition and the needed histiocytoma images medical attention. Depression and suicide are prevalent issues being discussed by the histiocytoma images young and about the young. Substance abuse, other forms of addiction, and HIV/AIDS also gravely affect our fellow youth. We feel that there is an urgent need to address histiocytoma images these concerns as these may involve us and affect the histiocytoma images people around us.
Our national economy is said to be growing at its histiocytoma images potential[vi]. However, majority of the filipino youth do not feel this growth histiocytoma images nor understand what it means and yet are very much histiocytoma images affected by it. Many of us still experience difficulty in finding stable jobs histiocytoma images to keep our future secure; others even fall victim to human trafficking and other forms histiocytoma images of exploitation. Most want to make a living not just for ourselves, but more for our parents who have given much for histiocytoma images us. We dream of a more inclusive economy that provides equal histiocytoma images opportunities to people regardless of age and gender.
Filipino youth comprise majority of the voters in the country. We seek honest and authentic leaders who stand for truth, justice and integrity. We need credible leaders we can count on and trust histiocytoma images to lead and make moral decisions for the good of histiocytoma images our country and its people. In the same way, we feel that we too can be leaders ourselves in histiocytoma images various ways. Although there are opportunities to be the leaders we seek, we feel that these are limited, and at times even superficial.
We are heavily exposed to many kinds of differences: in cultures (e.G. Indigenous peoples), faiths (e.G. Other faith denominations), and ideologies (e.G. Those rooted in same sex attraction). In all these, we heed pope francis’ invitation to build a “culture of encounter”. We seek to further understand them, and a concrete step is for us to have opportunities histiocytoma images for dialogue to face these differences and move towards a histiocytoma images more inclusive world.
Regular interaction with our friends is now more of a histiocytoma images need than a mere pastime as our elders presume. We value much our peer group relationships or “barkada”. During this stage of our lives, we seek to construct an identity of our own, one that may be independent from our family, but defined by the peer group that we belong to.[vii] when we find a sense of connection between our identity histiocytoma images and the values that our peer group has, we feel a greater sense of belongingness.[viii]
Unlike before, however, our peer groups today vary from physical groups to digital histiocytoma images communities. Most of us live a part of our lives online histiocytoma images as technology is already part of our daily life. We are a generation that is very much connected, yet still disconnected. Most of us who are frequently engaged online would rather histiocytoma images express ourselves through “emojis” or posts on our social media accounts as these appear histiocytoma images to be separate from our physical selves. Some of our behaviors now are also influenced by the histiocytoma images number of followers we have online, or the number of “likes” that our posts have earned. These online friendships could even bring about different pressures—to be popular, to be “always-on”; these play an integral part in how we form and histiocytoma images maintain our relationships both online and offline.
Our hearts are open to see and embrace role models histiocytoma images who give witness to the goodness of life while rooted histiocytoma images in the family. We want our elders to journey with us, to be approachable and not untouchable, to level with us to a certain extent, to walk the talk, and to make us sense that we are all equal. We are persons capable of contributing in the way others histiocytoma images do—with our own skills, knowledge and wisdom.
Jesus expresses his love and affection for us through the histiocytoma images church—a love that is incarnate, preferential and unconditional[ix]. Through the church, his body, he is always concerned with us, with all our expectations and hopes[x], and he reminds us not to be afraid “especially when we are faced with the fundamental choices on histiocytoma images which depend who we will be and what we will histiocytoma images do in this world”[xi].
The church in the philippines puts her confidence in us histiocytoma images filipino youth to raise the social consciousness not only of histiocytoma images our peers but also of our elders[xiii]. In his message to the youth for the world youth histiocytoma images day 1995 in manila, st. John paul II told us that we “are especially called to become missionaries of this new evangelization, by daily witnessing to the word that saves.”[xiv]
Our blessed mother is a model for us, as she herself was called to mission through the annunciation histiocytoma images at a very young age [cf. Lk 1:26-38]. Like her, the lord continues to call and challenge us. Recently, pope francis tells us: “the lord, the church, the world are waiting for your answer to the unique histiocytoma images call that each one receives in this life!”[xv]
At our young age, our challenges and calling may strongly disturb and overwhelm us, just like mary [cf. Lk 1:29]. Time and again, we are reminded not to be afraid, for we have found favor with god [cf. Lk 1:30]! May her inspiration allow us to respond with a courageous histiocytoma images and committed YES, proclaiming with her: “I am the servant of the lord. May it be done to me according to your word” [cf. Lk 1:38].
Indeed, like the two disciples, we now are filled with excitement to witness to jesus histiocytoma images who listens to our story, speaks to us words of encouragement, and challenges us. We respond to jesus and witness to him in the histiocytoma images year of the youth through the strategic pastoral plan that histiocytoma images the episcopal commission on youth proposes at the national and histiocytoma images diocesan levels.
The year of the youth is indeed a journey of histiocytoma images encounter with jesus, accompanied by mary, the star of the new evangelization. In this journey, we tell the story of the filipino youth with our histiocytoma images risen lord; we, young filipinos and filipinas, listen to jesus, the youth minister par excellence and, as we are blessed and gifted during this journey, we are empowered to witness to and share our faith.
We implore the holy spirit to guide us in realizing histiocytoma images this pastoral project for us filipino youth, a large and dynamic portion of the population of the histiocytoma images philippines[xvi], “known as a ‘pueblo amante de maria’”[xvii]. We entrust the 2019 year of the youth to mary, our blessed mother, as we commit ourselves to pray meaningfully every day the histiocytoma images angelus, and personally a “hail mary”.
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