The National Youth Day Formation Program 2015 to 2016 will close on November 20, 2016. We share the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Youth year- long program, with the introductory message of Bishop Leopoldo C. Jaucian, SVD, DD.
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
EPISCOPAL COMMISSION ON YOUTH
My dear young people!
It is with great joy that I, together with my brother Bishops in the Episcopal Commission on Youth, greet you all a happy and blessed National Youth Day!
In my welcome message to Pope Francis last January 18, when he met with you, young people, at the University of Santo Tomas, I said, “We thank you, Holy Father, for believing in [the youths’] energy and eagerness, their honesty and hope! They are gifts of the Church and treasures of the world. Some of them experience different forms of poverty: the lack of basic needs, food, shelter and clothing, becoming victims of abuse, calamities and conflicts. They see in you as their Father, who listens to their crises, their hopes and their dreams… Amidst the different crosses they bear, they remain religious, faithful and loving sons and daughters of Holy Mother the Church.”
With the same sentiment, I welcomed everyone who came to our national celebration of the National Youth Day 2015, generously hosted by the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao! Let me take this opportunity to express again my heartfelt gratitude to the whole NYD2015 Organization! I salute Most Rev. SERGIO L. UTLEG, DD, Archbishop of Tuguegarao, and his auxiliary Most Rev. RICARDO L. BACCAY, DD for their generous hosting, along with the People of God in the whole host-archdiocese, especially the youth ministers! I thank my brother Bishops for their prayers, presence and support in my first national NYD celebration as Chairman of our Episcopal Commission on Youth!
As we prepare to celebrate the NYD2015 in our own communities, i.e. dioceses, parishes, BEC’s and other settings, I echo Pope Francis’—and Mother Church’s—confidence in you!
I affirm you as gifts and treasures: sometimes unappreciated, or perhaps even wrongly or inadequately valued. But still precious and loved, despite difficulties and evils which undermine or even attack your dignity.
And like Pope Francis, whose message for the World Youth Day 2015 we are taking as our guiding light for the NYD2015, I wish to be father, a shepherd, a youth minister to you, ready to listen to your voices and to rekindle your hope. This same wish is shared by the rest of the Church; that is why we have the National Youth Day!
Even in these local celebrations, let us come together—your Bishops, your priests and religious brothers and sisters, your lay elders, with you, our dear youth—to ponder on the joy of being blessed, to pause in our faith adventure in order to resume it with greater passion, and to pray to become more and more pure, seeking God alone.
I recognize with joy that each one of us has the desire for happiness. In your local celebration, I pray that God may shower His abundant grace upon us to be able to see Him in everyone, in every activity. Let us open our hearts in order to come into a personal encounter with Jesus, who alone makes our hearts burn with mercy and compassion, purifying it, enabling us to gaze at the Divine: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
Happy NYD2015! May the spirit of Advent help us live our theme in a most special way, making our Christmas celebration within the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy and our own Year of the Family and the Eucharist more meaningful.
+ LEOPOLDO C. JAUCIAN, SVD, DD
Bishop, Diocese of Bangued
Chairman, CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Youth